The coming two games will be the perfect platform upon which a couple of players can really showcase both their ability and their adaptability – two things which do not by any means go hand in hand. The obvious example would be Angelo Palombo, the central midfielder for Sampdoria who is rumoured to be in line for a start alongside Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo. De Rossi and Pirlo do not play together naturally, so the addition of Palombo may be done to help shoulder some of the defensive duties of one or both of the Azzurri midfield’s mainstays. We can deduce that he will not have been added to the line-up for his attacking abilities, and therefore he will be there to offer balance and cohesiveness that the likes of Camoranesi or Marchisio could not, and creating a clear distinction between the midfield and attack.
That attack will most likely be a three-pronged formation, headed by Vincenzo Iaquinta with Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella playing in wider roles. Luca Toni has been in good form for Bayern Munich ever since he joined the German side, but his performances for the Azzurri have flattered to deceive since before the European Championships. The search for an in-form striker to kick-start the national team will begin this weekend with Toni sidelined alongside Alberto Gilardino. With this in mind, and the excellent form Iaquinta is currently enjoying, it would seem to be the obvious conclusion to place the Juventus man as the main striker of the trio for the games against Montegro and the Republic of Ireland – beating competition from Marco Di Vaio and Giampaolo Pazzini for that role. Interestingly the player himself recently pointed out that he has never started a match for Italy at the head of the three strikers, instead being forced into a wide role similar to that Di Natale or Pepe will play – players who have made their careers in this position, unlike Iaquinta. Indeed he even made his name playing in Toni’s exact role, for seven years at Udinese, proving beyond reasonable doubt that he is indeed capable. These ties may well give the big target man his best chance yet to establish himself where he wants to be, in an Italy shirt, but also in the prime centre-forward position.
26 March 2009 – Montenegro vs. Italy – Complacency the danger for the Azzurri
26 March 2009 – Montenegro vs. Italy – Give us Cassano!
21 Grygera – 3 Chiellini – 33 Legrottaglie – 28 Molinaro
16 Camoranesi – 30 Tiago – 18 Poulsen – 11 Nedved
20 Trezeguet – 10 Del Piero