GIOVENTU » Back home - Italy's poor 2014 World Cup Campaign

Back home - Italy's poor 2014 World Cup Campaign

The Italian football team has returned home. After losing 1-0 against Uruguay they’ve been eliminated from the world cup at the first round. The last time Italy was kicked out for two consecutive times at the first round was in 1962 (Chile) and 1966 (England).

The disappointment was great, but the general opinion was that Italy deserved to go home, as the tedious and frustrating last match against Uruguay demonstrated.

The head coach, Cesare Prandelli and the president of Figc, Giancarlo Abete resigned admitting their own responsibilities.

The opinion on the performance of the Italian players has been harsh. Mario Balotelli has been the scapegoat for a messy and slow team, clearly not at its best. Rumour has it that this could be the last world cup for “Super Mario” and maybe for some others.  

However, as it was commented by the experts and reported on the main newspapers, the reasons for such a bad performing team must be found in the Italian football system in general.

Firstly, the obsolete and malfunctioning football structures, then the excessive use of foreign non-top players (in the 2013-14 Serie A championship, the Italian players numbered less than the foreigners). The lack of good opportunities in the country as the best coaches (Lippi, Ancelotti, Mancini) left to work abroad with other teams, as well as the new Italian talents (Verratti, Sirigu, Balotelli). Last but not least: Violence. Italy hasn’t found an effective way to tackle violence at the stadium and this obviously affects the attendance of supporters. The Report, “Calcio 2014”, presented by the Italian Football Federation, says that in one year the decline of Italian fans in the stadiums was almost a million, from about 13.2 million in 2011-2012 to 12.3 million in 2012-2013.

Moreover, violence at the stadium is still a problem as demonstrated by the recent death of Ciro Esposito, the Napoli supporter seriously injured in the clashes outside the Olympic stadium two months ago. If other countries, England for example, did extremely well on handling the Ultras, Italy seems to lack the right and effective measures to protect the supporters and punish the troublemakers.

Italy is currently ninth in the FIFA rankings and now threatens to fall out of the top ten after the Brazilian flop. Amongst the clubs, the 2013-14 season was also a failure with only Juventus in the semi-finals of the European League.  

Giulia Lombardo

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