Cesare Prandelli’s first official game got off to a winning start with a far from convincing performance. The main aim was to come home with the three points but the magnitude of Prandelli’s task in rebuilding La Nazionale was very evident against a mediocre Estonia.
Salvatore Sirigu – 5
Must take some blame for the Estonia goal. The ball did dip horribly and bounce just in front of the Palermo keeper but he had no wall to cover the potential shot. Almost allowed Estonia an equalizer in last moments as he failed to deal with a cross into the area. Unsafe.
Mattia Cassani – 5.5
Pushed up to help the attack but failed to put in any decent crosses and found himself struggling to get back to help the shaky Italian back line. Will need to improve in both phases of play if he is to cement a place at right back. Insecure.
Giorgio Chiellini – 5
One of his worst performances bearing in mind the quality of the opposition. Was clumsy and laboured to cover the spaces exploited by the Estonian forwards. Distribution was slow and seemed to lack any discernible pace. Ugly.
Leonardo Bonucci – 6.5
Much more assured than his experienced partner and scored the vital goal. Still has plenty of room for improvement, especially in his starting position but was not helped by Chiellini’s poor performance. Improving.
Christian Molinaro – 5.5
A very similar performance to that of Cassani at right back. Plenty of endeavour in attack but with little end product. Improved in the second half as Italy concentrated their attacks on the left, but still failed to put in any quality crosses. Hesitant.
Daniele De Rossi – 6
Tried to mix his usual game of invention and grit but failed to excel in either. Some aimless balls played forward but did manage to thread a pass for Giampaolo Pazzini for his one and only good chance to score. His work rate is indispensable in midfield. Steady.
Riccardo Montolivo – 5
Another timid performance from the Fiorentina midfielder who struggles to transfer his club form to the national team. Failed to make any mark on the game and was mostly ordinary. Worrying.
Andrea Pirlo – 6
Wasted many passes, which is rare for him but did play his part in both of Italy’s goals with his corner kicks. Not a great game for the team captain but he still managed to be integral to the victory. Inconsistent.
Simone Pepe – 5
He will sweat blood and run and track back for the whole match but the truth is that he just is not international quality. Seems almost too eager to impress and forgets to the simple footballing things well. If he could improve his dribbling and control he would be the coach’s dream. Lacking.
Antonio Cassano – 7
Single handedly saved the result with a headed goal and a clever back heeled assist for the winner. Tried at every opportunity to beat his man and showed some good link up play with Pazzini. By no means a vintage display, but one that spared the Azzurri blushes. Saviour.
Giampaolo Pazzini – 5.5
Plenty of movement from the big forward but failed to really worry the Estonian defence. One good chance was smacked against the keeper’s legs but made no other impression on the game. Frustrating.
Fabio Quagliarella – 5
Came on for Pepe whilst the score was 1-0 to Estonia but failed to make the difference in any way. Was not able to run at the defence or make any incursions into the enemy penalty area. Anonymous.
Angelo Palombo – No Vote
Was introduced to shore up the midfield by replacing the lackluster Montolivo for the last 15 minutes.
Luca Antonelli – No Vote
Prandelli gave the young Parma player his debut with minutes remaining on the clock, to replace a tiring Cassano. No real time to make any kind of influence on the match.