Analysis: Lessons from Italy 1-1 Croatia
Whether you're stuck without a telly or you're following the fallout on a second screen, check FourFourTwo's Twitter commentary during the match for illuminating analysis using the completely free Stats Zone app, fired by Opta statistics updated live during the game.
A few things StatsZone users noted during the Italy-Croatia match:
Italy, and specifically Andrea Pirlo, bossed the first half. @CareFreeChronic showed how he attempted and completed far more passes after 25 minutes than before.
One of Italy's main outlets was Antonio Cassano, whom @CareFreeChronic noted was drifting to the right and creating chances.
By necessity, Croatia's first-half tackles were therefore concentrated in the left-back zone. Or, as @natefc asked: "Reckon Italy are focusing on a certain area of the pitch?"
Croatia needed a half-time reshuffle, and coach Slaven Bilic provided one, changing his team to a 4-2-3-1 and pushing Modric further forward. This helped nullify Pirlo but also allowed Croatia's full-backs to come forward. @ZazooShah noted how left-back Ivan Strinic was receiving the ball further forward, keeping Italy right-wingback Christian Maggio into defensive duties. And eventually it worked: @rmd282 noted that Strinic's first completed cross created Mario Mandzukic's equaliser.
Facing the possibility of first-rounf elimination, Italy need to show a bit more tactical flexibility. @CouchPundito compared Italy's long balls against Croatia and Spain: "Moving the ball over long distances is a key feature for Italy." Will the Irish team be able to cope with it? We'll find out on Monday...
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