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[av_heading heading=’New Italy coach Giampiero Ventura: strategy and formation of the team’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Federico Aquè

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As already occurred in 2009 at Bari, Giampiero Ventura takes over for Antonio Conte as the Italian national team coach. This is a consistent selection with the technical project that has been developed over the last two years: for the systems the two coaches use, particularly the 4-2-4 and 3-5-2 formations, but especially for their game play ideas, so much that a few of Ventura’s Torino plays can be overlapped with Conte’s Italy plays.
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The first common principle between Conte and Ventura’s football style is the start of the play with the ball on the ground from behind. Their defenders must have personality, technique and a vision of the play in order to set up the manoeuvre, exploiting the numerical superiority that the first lines of pressing provide the 3-man defence. In the photo above, Théréau must choose between Jansson and Bovo, leaving Torino with the opportunity to build up the play on the chain formed of Bovo, Zappacosta and Acquah.
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Although they particularly stress a clean ball coming from the defence, Conte and Ventura’s teams do not play possession football. In fact Conte spreads his midfielders out immediately, whereas Ventura prefers to spread them out later, when the wing gains possession of the ball (this is the case of Acquah in the play shown above).

Both rely on vertical combinations in order to move up the pitch quickly. In the photo above, notice how close Belotti and Martínez are, ready for the classic criss-crossing manoeuvre: one goes toward the other, the other goes deep.
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The ball is passed to Martínez who takes a moment so the play can be spread out straight away to Benassi or Peres, both in far forward positions to attack the opposing defensive line, and he recycles possession to the centre left defender, Gastón Silva. The constant support of the centre defenders’ movements in order to provide consistent possession is fundamental for both Conte and Ventura.
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Silva has many teammates ahead of him that he can pass to: 4 attack the Udinese defensive line on the centre-left, while on the opposite side Acquah and Zappacosta have double-teamed Adnan and they can intervene in the event of clearance by the defenders. Gastón Silva will choose to send Belotti who, in turn, will support Benassi’s finish.

Anyone who watched Italy in the Euro 2016 tournament can easily see Éder and Pellè in this play instead of Martínez and Belotti, Chiellini in place of Gastón Silva, or Giaccherini in place of Benassi. Even if the coach has been changed and the basic formation will probably not be 3-5-2 (Ventura has said that it would penalise the wings and perhaps he is ready to dust off the 4-2-4 formation), the principles of Italian game play will not be much different compared to the last two years.
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Federico Aquè
Federico Aquè is the editor-in-chief of La Giocata. With a degree in Literature, he has collaborated with Sprint&Sport, Datasport and Sportmediaset. He founded Calcio Critico and writes for L’Ultimo Uomo

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