EURO 2012 Qualification - Match Preview: Italy versus Faroe Islands

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EURO 2012 Qualification - Match Preview: Italy versus Faroe Islands
Italy will be looking to capitalize on their win against Estonia in the opening qualification match of group C. The Azzurri are on their road to redemption following their horrid display at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Italy was drawn in a group with relatively lower rated teams such as New Zealand, Slovakia and Paraguay. Despite having such an easy group to qualify from, Italy failed to make it to the round of sixteen and were knocked out at the group stage after drawing two and losing one of their total three matches.
Italy’s knocked out at such an early stage from the World Cup despite being the defending champions came as a real blow to Italian football which has been on a low already. Regardless of the fact that Inter Milan won the UEFA Champions League, the quality of Serie A was blamed for the Italian national teams’ below par display at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It was also mentioned that when Inter Milan won the Champions League, it had more foreign players than Italians - something that was greatly emphasized by the media.
The Azzurri changed their coach after the World Cup debacle which was seen as an ending point for the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Gennaro Gattuso. The new Italian national team manager, Cesare Prandelli has been brought in by Italy’s footballing authorities to encourage and nurture young players who are coming through Italian football’s U-21 and U-19 teams.  
Italy’s 2-1 win over Estonia did the job for them but the former World Cup champions looked nothing like an impressive outfit. There was no offensive cohesion in Italy’s attack as they barely scrapped through with a victory in the end. The fact that their first match was away in Estonia rather than at home, Italy can take comfort that they at least got the job done.
Cesare has already voiced his discontent through his latest team selection for the Faroe Islands game. Prandelli has only selected five out of the eleven players that started against Estonia last Friday. He also said after the game that he wants to see players who have the talent, age and quality to make it for Italy in the future.
It seems that the former Fiorentina coach has brought Cassano and Alberto Gilardino into his side to bolster Italy’s attacking options. Out of their last five matches, the Azzurri have drawn two, lost two and won only one.
As far as Italy’s opponents are concerned, Faroe Islands have already lost two of their opening qualifiers against Serbia and Estonia. Their first qualification game was against Estonia, a match that the eastern European team won by two goals to one. Faroe Island’s second match was against Serbia which they lost by three goals to nil.
Last time these two teams met in international football was back in November 2007. Back then Italy won the match by outplaying Faroe Islands and scoring three goals while only conceding one in reply. If Italy is in trouble then Faroe Islands are already doomed because they have been unsuccessful in getting a win from their last five matches.
A war of words has already started before the match as authorities from Faroe Islands have complained about the condition of training facilities in Florence, the city where this match is supposed to be held. Accusations have been made that Italy have provided Faroe Islands with a below average training ground which caused one of their players to injure his ankle.
Due to their defeat in the opening two matches, Faroe Islands must at least obtain a draw from this game to remain in contention for qualification. For Italy, the situation is not as bleak but they will be looking to build on the win against Estonia and keep pace with Group C leaders Serbia.



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