Sacchi was left with an interesting dilemma in this match, in that Casiraghi and Chiesa had overall performed very well, despite the formers glaring miss versus the Czechs, but neither really complimented the other. Sacchi would choose to select Casiraghi, with experience likely being the deciding factor, and was partnered with Zola as the more creative of the partnership.
Donadoni would remain on the left wing and would like up well with the attacking movements of Carboni from left back. On the right side Fuser and Mussi continued to divide the defensive and attacking responsibilities well, with Fuser given license to move forward with Mussi ably assisting him as well as covering the attacking movements of Christian Ziege.
Di Matteo was brought back into the midfield to partner Albertini, with the final change being Maldini moving to central defence to cover for the suspended Apolloni.
Italy Starting X1
Overall this was a more conservative approach from Berti Vogts, a coach who was showing all of his experience at this level by preserving his side’s energy as well as remaining defensively solid.
Bobic was once again reinstated into the line up, replacing Bierhoff, forming the role of aerial link man for Klinsmann and Moller who’s movement was designed to pull Italy out of their zonal defensive structure.
On the right side Strunz would come in to replace Reuter, a player who was far more attack minded but who’s athleticism gave Germany the support of working back as well as forward. Hassler worked well with Strunz to overload the right wing area, thus ensuring the aging Donadoni would have to continually track back.
Sammer, who had enjoyed many attacking runs in the early games, would play far deeper in this match and would be tasked with bringing the ball out the back to create central overloads against Italy’s two man midfield. To compliment this Moller dropped much deeper that the first two games, picking up possession before making attacking forward passes into Bobic or Klinsmann.
Ziege continued to be Germany’s most consistent performer through his attack play on the left wing, once again flanked on the inside by Eilts who offered protection at the base of the midfield.
Germany Starting X1
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS TELL US?
Value of Chances
Given how impressive Germany had been in the opening two games this performance came as a surprise. In Stewart’s report he had noted the context and the scheduling implications of the match, which clearly had an impact on a performance that on another day may not have been enough. All 6 of their chances fell between minute 25 and 65, which for a team with trophy aspirations seemed very out of character.
If we remove the missed penalty value from their expected goals score (0.74 for the penalty) it’s probably has a fairer reflection on their xG value & the marginal edge the held over Germany. While they did attack more consistently than Germany, the closing period of the 1st half was clearly Italy’s most dominant spell & their inability to convert would ultimately put them out the competition.
Type of Chances Created
Germany only recorded 6 attacks during the match, split between build up attacks & free kicks. From this they only managed two efforts on target, overall in keeping with their more conservative approach.
Italy pressed extremely well in the match, thus resulting in many counter attacks. Only 4 of these breaks were turned into converted efforts on goal, it was in periods of build up that they would excel. The azzuri created 9 attacks from build up out of 16, however with only 3 turning into chances that tested the keeper it sums up Italy’s day.
Where Chances are Created
When we breakdown where the attacks were registered for both teams we start to understand why the chance probability was so low. Two thirds of Germany’s 16 attacks (11) & Italys 6 attacks (4) were from outside the box, with each landing 3 & 1 attacks on target respectively.
The other interesting statistic which I found to be startling, especially as both teams have very competitent attacking options in wide areas, was that only 1 attack was registered in open play from a cross. Further to this we see that the cross came from a central midfielder in Albertini, from the inside right channel on the half way line, onto the head of striker Zola at the edge of the 18 yard box.
Who Created Chances
Given Germany’s poor attacking display its unsurprising that the output for individuals was low, so with that in mind it has to be Fredi Bobic who had two attacks recorded & both were on target.
Demetrio Albertini came in as Italy’s best statistical attacker, recording 3 attacks on goal himself & setting up a further 3 for his teammates. An honorable mention must go to Roberto Donadoni who had 3 attacks on goal, two of which landed on target with a total probability of 20%.
Using our very own Retro Football Analysis Match Simulator, we use the probability rating of each attack to calculate the odds of the matches outcome. Here are the results we got back.
The predictor will be skewed by the penalty value, which on another day could have changed the course of the game dramatically. We also have to consider Chiesa’s late miss in the game, one that carried a large probability percentage. Ultimately both misses saw Italy exit the competition at the first hurdle, with a squad many would regard as more than capable of lifting the trophy.