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Football, International Friendly (M)
Ventura plans to give the young hopes a chance in this match – Donnarumma, Rugani, Romagnoli, Gagliardini and Petagna
Netherlands didn’t play the European Championship in France last year, but Blind’s team didn’t start the current qualifiers for the World Championship in Russia either. A big question now is whether the stumbling European team known for being great will even get to play the final tournament in Russia. In five qualifying matches so far, Netherlands beat only the weakest teams of the group, Belarus and Luxembourg, and after losing to France, they lost the points in an away game in Bulgaria on Saturday, as well. The captain Robben admitted after the game that his team’s game was terrible, and the coach Blind was fired only a day before the friendly duel against Italy.
The big question now is who’s going to inherit Blind’s position leading the Dutch team, and supposedly, even the foreign coaches are an option. Fred Grim will be leading the team against Italy, but the Alliance put him in that position only as a temporary solution.
Now it remains to be seen who will Grim send out to start the game in this chaotic situation, but a lot of well-known Dutch players didn’t come to this duel, for various reasons – and those are the defenders Bruma, van Dijk and Janmaat, the midfielders Fer, Schaars, Clasie and Affelay, and the forwards Narsingh and Huntellar.
The Italians know how to deal with the qualifiers, and the rejuvenated Ventura’s team confirm that in the current qualifying cycle for Russia. In the five rounds so far, Italy weren’t that great, but they were efficient, and they got four wins with a tie against their main rivals for the first place of the group, the Spaniards. They easily beat Albania on Sicily on Friday, and after the game, the most news were focused on the fan riots and the free kick caused by the Albanian fans.
Ventura couldn’t hide his pleasure by the game they played against Albania:
– We didn’t risk almost anything in the defense, and we were always dangerous in their space. We’re a pretty new group who made a small step forward against Albania. Maybe it wasn’t an extraordinary performance, but we did what we needed to. Not everybody could play against Albania, but we have a lot of new and young players who are just gaining experience and who will be playing in the future. We’ve got everything at the right place for the strong future for Italy.
The Italians traditionally use friendly matches to try out different experiments, so the results aren’t nearly as convincing as those in the games where they have to get points. After Ventura used the 4-2-4 formation against Albania, he should be using the 3-5-2 formation against Netherlands.
The experienced Buffon should be replaced by the extremely talented young Donnarumma to tend the net, and Rugani and Rumagnoli should get their chance to start in the defense. Gagliardini should start the midfield, and Atalanta’s star Petagna is expected in the center of the offense for his first match for the national team.