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Author: Francesco Farioli

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Total football, in the true sense of the word. It would be easy to say, knowing that Spain would be the team in the these final preliminary matches for Euro 2016, but the “total” surprise comes from Antonio Conte’s Italy.

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A team capable of lining up with eleven players behind the ball, ready to suffer and wait for the right time to attack in transition.

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At one time it was called “catenaccio” and counter-attack and it was typical Italian, but Conte’s Italy has skilfully added a different awareness to that football, a diversified play book where they alternate between dynamically and vertically building the play from the bottom, but where, at the same time, they open up spaces and opportunities for medium-long plays.

In all of this, there are constant diagonal movements, breadth and depth with overlapping and movements without the ball to get the third man open and have the upper hand in the opposing team’s midfield.

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COMPACT FORMATION AND TRANSITION PHASE:
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Massimiliano Bellarte, “Acqua & Sapone” Head Coach (Serie A, futsal), defined similar behaviour as Offensive Delaying because “the aim of the counter-attack is not to arrive first, but to arrive with superiority.”

Conte’s team, in order to shut down the adversary’s dribbling game, decides to implement an ultra-offensive pressing that closes off any rear passes in order to create numerical equality on the Spanish side of the pitch, deciding to press constantly, even against De Gea, and to leave the farthest man from the ball open.
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When Spain managed to escape the Italian pressing, Italy demonstrated its tactical skill and sacrifice by hurrying back, making up time with individual pressing on the ball carrier, concentrating the play on one side and falling back on the opposite side in order to tighten back up and resume pressing.
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BUILD UP

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The key to the match in the build up phase was, without a doubt, the great confidence Italy’s defence and Buffon had for the entire ninety minutes. Spain, unlike Italy, implemented an offensive pressing that was nevertheless often beaten by Buffon’s mobility, capable of getting open breadth-wise to open up new lines for passing and to act as a mobile support for the diamond, as well as facilitating the opportunity for plays to other team mates through his motion.
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OVERLAPPING, NUMERICAL SUPERIORITY and THIRD MAN

Once the space was found to get by the first line of pressing, Italy proved to be deadly playing in the vertical spaces, ball forward, ball back, ball forward, constantly looking for the third man, as occurred on the occasion of the Italy goal.

Twice in the same action.
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Italy was also breadth and vertical use of the space between the lines (Zaza’s play) and deep attacking.

A combination of unpredictable play situations that, through the overall organisation, enhanced the individual qualities of the players skilled in one-on-one duels such as Zaza and Insigne and generous players like Giaccherini.

A real football match. A total football match.
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Francesco Farioli
Aspire Academy (Qatar Football Association), Senior Goalkeeper Coach, Video Match & Performance Analysis.
www.francescofarioli.com

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