Annie Adkins  |  Wed 10th Oct   | Soccer

Over the past several years the Italian national team has been in crisis. One after another, they suffered hits from all sides. The latest was this Wednesday evening. The Italians managed to play only 1:1 against Ukraine. It was the fifth straight game for the Azzurri in which they haven’t won.

For a long time, the Italians haven’t felt like this. Most of their experts were convinced that Ukraine would be defeated, and to be honest, the majority of pundits all around the world thought the same way. But in the end, it was only a draw at Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa. Federico Bernardeschi scored for Italy in the 55th minute, while Ruslan Malinovsky equalized just 7 minutes later.

Domination, but no Goals

In general, the Italians had more of the ball possession, but that didn’t affect the final outcome. When looking at that aspect of the game, we see that they almost had twice as much ball in their feet (66%), and that it was pretty noticeable in the second 45 minutes, when that percentage went up to 72%. But the paradox is that the Italian team had more big chances in the first halftime. They were more dangerous for the goalkeeper Pyatov, then than later. Ukraine even had the opportunity to turn around the match completely, In the 69th minute, Ruslan Malinovsky was near his second goal, when he made a fantastic free-kick from some 25 yards. But Gianluigi Donnarumma showed why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and why the Italians think that he might replace the legendary Buffon. With the ultimate effort, he got to the ball and diverted it to the bar. Instantly after that, he denied another opportunity of the guests, making the crowd go wild.

Roberto Mancini thought that his old stadium and the city where he spent 15 years playing for Sampdoria, will help him to interrupt the drought, of five winless matches, Yet again, he and the whole nation suffered another disappointment, which will for sure result in even greater frustration. The only win since he took over Italy was recorded against Saudi Arabi, and for most of the fans that didn’t even count. What is valued are triumphs only over the top nations, like Germany, England, France, Argentina etc.

Many Problems for Mancini

Right now, the Italian national side is way behind those teams. In all the aspects, the Azzurri are not even near their predecessors from some 10 years ago, when they ruled the world. What is the biggest problem for Mancini is where to find a decent playmaker, something like Andrea Pirlo, who was masterful when it came to creativity. Francesco Totti, Del Piero, Ambrosini, Montolivo, all these guys were filled with flair and talent, and nowadays it is hard to find players who are one class below the above-mentioned.

There is no doubt, that hard times are ahead of one of the Italian legends, and that he needs to invent something new. Otherwise, his team will struggle,

Annie Adkins