The JuveTalia history
Throughout history Juventus has always been an industrial unit producing Italy’s optimum talents, the excellence of the Azzurri squad was always aligned with the bright days at Turin. Back in the season 1981/1982 when Juve earned the Scudetto with the strongest offense netting 48 goals and conceding only 14, it was the time when the sun rose shining in Spain where Enzo Bearzot’s men were crowned world champions. Dino Zoff lifted the trophy to become the oldest player to win the World Cup, Golden Boot winner Paolo Rossi and veterans like Antonio Cabrini, Gaetano Scirea and Marco Tardelli were vital for this triumph. All of them are Juventus legends.
With the clouds of Calciopoli gathering Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluca Zambrotta played important roles as Italy won their 4th World Cup title. The boys in the blue jerseys blew away all the expectations with their outstanding performance in the World Cup conceding only two goals. Fabio Cannavaro was also awarded the Ballon d’Or and became the second defender to ever win the award.
The Conte Era And Effect
The Zebras went through a bad patch after 2006 and finished seventh twice, till Antonio Conte appeared as a saviour in 2011/12 season.
The old captain proved he was the best to sail his favorite ship, on his first season as the head coach for Juventus. He provided the players with the environment they needed to boost their self-esteem and remind them of the worth of the shirt they are wearing. The sideline screaming every week finally paid off when the Bianconeri clinched the Scudetto after 38 unbeaten games in row. A big chunk of Juventus squad travelled to Ukraine and Poland for European Championship and played a big part in Italy’s eventual runner-up position.
As a result of the quality Juventus have been offering Italy’s head coach Cesare Prandelli was forced to start with a number of Juventini in his starting lineups. Before the Euros Prandelli experimented with Conte’s 4-3-3 formation in a couple of friendlies and group qualification matches using the likes of Simone Pepe on the flanks. Prandelli also used the 3-5-2 formation, another oft used system of Conte’s, when the situation demanded it.
Italy’s 55-year-old coach has picked eight Juventini in his current squad to face Armenia and Denmark. Antonio Conte has shaped his players’ mentality and imbibed a never-say-die attitude which is bound to help Italy.
Prandelli’s Juventini choices
Gianluigi Buffon: The captain of Juventus and Nazionale, San Gigi has been Italy’s number one goalkeeper for over a decade now thanks to his marvelous saves and spot-on guidance for the defensive –line. In the game against Armenia if it was not for his superb saves Armenia could have easily embarrassed the Azzurri but thanks to Buffon Prandelli’s boys returned to Italy with the three points.
Defense: Juventus provided the Azzurri with three of the best defenders in Serie A as they only conceded 20 goals in 38 games. Andrea Barzagli had revealed his best qualities last season (something he is yet to manage in this term). Leonardo Bonucci has colossally improved under the supervision of Antonio Conte. Along with them there is Giorgio Chiellini, one of Europe’s top defenders, a veteran with Juventus and Italy though he is only in his late 20s. With these three defenders Conte has the flexibility to flip between three and four man defense in his formation while Chiellini can also be used as a defensive left-back. Conte built a defensive-line of high self-confidence, the ability to control the pace of the game and to build play from the back.
Midfield: Two members of Juve’s three-sided central midfield are on the Italian board, l’architetto Andrea Pirlo who, despite recent criticism, continues to be irreplaceable for Italy and Il principino Claudio Marchisio a player who just keeps getting better. The 26-year-old has upgraded his dribbling and passing skills over the past few years and has become a crucial, if under-rated player for Juventus and Azzurris. This duo has the competence of holding possession, fighting back for the ball and being decisive in crucial times of the game.
Emanuele Giaccherini: The pick that has raised a lot of eyebrows as Giaccherini has only started three Juve games this term. Giaccherini is a wildcard who can play anywhere, played for Cesena as a second striker, took place on the flanks and as a central midfielder for Juve and shocked many at the game verses Armenia when he replaced Pirlo and took the trequartista position. He is a player with astonishing pace and some shots that could punish the opposition. But with other midfielders back to their top-form will Giaccherini be able to book his place in the blue kit?
Sebastian Giovinco: Giovinco suffered from a chequered start of his career but excelled finally at Parma last season. He is blessed with speed and technique is and featured against Armenia showed some promise. However, he needs to improve much more if he has to feature as a regular starter for the national team.
As it stands, Conte’s Juventus remains one of the main inspirations behind Prandelli’s Italy in terms of tactics and personnel. It remains to be seen if World Cup 2014 can open another new chapter in the glorious mutual history between these two teams.
Article Written By Ramez Youssef Nathan