Football: Italian press impressed by the new England

It was a chastened Italian nation that reflected on Saturday's goalless draw against England. Not only had their football team failed to deliver the win they needed for automatic qualification for the World Cup finals in France, they had failed to provide it against a side that had been considered inferior by one and all.

"Perhaps we underestimated the strength of the England team," was a common remark in the newspapers and among television commentators. There was widespread admiration for the English midfield, in particular, and special respect reserved for the captain on the night: Paul Ince, once of Internazionale.

But - this being a country that loves to indulge in self-criticism - there was a hefty dose of teeth-gnashing, too. The Rome newspaper Il Messaggero lambasted the national team for a disappointing performance. Corriere della Sera - and it was not the only one - accused the coach, Cesare Maldini, of coming up with a "useless strategy".

His biggest sin? Taking Gianfranco Zola out of his usual striker position and asking him to lend support, first from the left and then from the right, to Christian Vieri and Filippo Inzaghi. Zola himself complained that he had been misused in a position he had never played before. The commentators asked themselves if they had seen him at all during the hour- plus that he stayed on the pitch.

Maldini insisted he had nothing to reproach himself for, that everyone had done what they could. Il Messaggero's commentator, Piero Mei, recalled the Italian proverb: "He who makes do with what he's got is a happy man" - and he added: "How untrue can a proverb get?"

But it was Gazzetta dello Sport which led the plaudits: "Italy today are inferior to England, they don't have their sense of security, of their mastery of the game and not even - listen to this - their adaptability.

"The lions who once only knew how to punt the ball forward and run after it, and tackle, cross and get stuck in, are now showing refined ball skills, taking control of the game, winning possession with elegance, and looking for the moment to make a winning strike."

Corriere delle Sport said England were a "real team, one that was better organised than ours and one that came closer to scoring than an Italy side who in 90 minutes used up three generations of strikers."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive - West London - £35,000

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A luxury fashion retailer based in W...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Engineer - East Riding of Yorkshire

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Systems Engineer - East Riding of...

Recruitment Genius: IT Technician / Epos Engineer - Crayford

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This retail and hospitality til...

Recruitment Genius: HP Technical Support Analyst

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding IT Manag...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable