RWD’s Euro 2012 Preview: Group C
We have more than a passing interest in Republic of Ireland's Group C...
The once great Italy are something of a laughing stock in 2012, riddled with corruption allegations and players for whom the word average was invented, the Azzuri have still got Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon and with a Daniele De Rossi here and an Antonio Cassano there, they almost pass for something resembling a top international team, but they’re not.
Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo will hold Italy’s midfield together, acting in tandem to sweep, probe and attack with the less capable Claudio Marchisio and Riccardo Montolivo chipping in. Let’s be clear, this Italian team’s better players are among the world’s best, but Buffon and Pirlo are aged and Mario Balotelli is, as we know, insane, but the nut-job striker and his similarly eccentric partner Antonio Cassano are Italy’s only chance of scoring goals and/or doing something special at Euro 2012. Let’s just hope for Italy’s sake they manage it.
Where will the goals come from?
Antonio Di Natale has long been touted as a potential goal scorer at international level and this tournament will be his last chance to prove it. Mario Batotelli isn’t expected to start the first game of the tournament with his attitude still in question, so the pressure will be on the recently recovered from heart surgery Antonio Cassano, who has the talent, but is another whose prone to the occasional meltdown. A long-term injury to Giuseppe Rossi means chances for Fabio Borini and Sebastian Giovinco to shine, but don’t hold your breath.
How far will they go?
We’re struggling to see a place for Italy in Group C’s top two with Croatia boasting more elite talent across the park and a lower ratio of borderline personality disorders. There should be an investigation by trading standards into what they’re calling an Italian defence and Ireland beat them not long ago. If they do make it out of the group stages, they won’t go further.