Category Archives: Coppa Italia
This summer has been pretty light so far in terms of news and updates. I’ve been working on some columns for Inside Spanish Football and Serie A Weekly asked me to write a season preview for their site and I thought I’d share it with our community.
If you’re a die hard Inter Milan fan like I am, you must have been disappointed by the team’s season last year.
It’s not really hard to understand what happened last season. The club made several mistakes in 2011 and unfortunately paid for most of them. First of all, the team lost its philosophy, its mental strength and its winning mentality from the Mourinho era. A (record?) total of 4 managers in less than 1 year brought different tactical systems and different football perspectives to the team.
Second of all, they lost the most talented player on their roster: Samuel Eto’o while far less talented players (Pazzini) and less capable players (Forlan) were expected to step up in that particular position. Finally too many players who were passed their prime were given important role. Dejan Stankovitch, Chivu, Lucio, Julio Cesar and Maicon helped Inter win championships these past 5 years. But let’s be clear, all of them are passed their prime and they all should have been replaced last year.
That being said, I have a feeling 2012-2013 will be different for Inter. Dejan and Lucio are already gone while Maicon, Julio Cesar and Chivu are on their way out. The likes of Coutinho and Ricky Alvarez will play a much more important role in the development of the offense and both of them will help Sneijder control the pace of our game. Sneijder is an excellent player and a different type of trequartista but Ricky and Coutinho are classic number 10s. Both are better suited to slow down the tempo of the game and deliver intelligent passes to open up the game.
Freddy Guarin, who was recruited in January, will also play a crucial role in Inter’s game. He has been really impressive so far in the preseason and having him in the center of our midfield gives us a player who can create offensively but really help out defensively. Silvestre was brought in to replace Lucio and is expected to be our main center back this season and to be quite honest I’m really exited about that… he will be more reliable than Lucio and Chivu. Handanovic who was also brought this summer should be the starting goal keeper and he has been pretty good so far during the preseason.
2012-2013 will be Stramaccioni’s first full season as the head coach of the team. Personally I think Strama is the man of the situation, and his system (4-3-2-1) suits the team perfectly. He seems to appreciate creative midfielders and there is no doubt that Coutinho, Ricky Alvarez and Palacio will be given more opportunities to run the offense with Sneijder. Last season we saw that he was a bright tactical mind when he outfoxed Allegri’s Milan in the derby but he knows he will have to do much more than win one big game if he wants to achieve great things with Inter.
Juventus has a quality team but unlike last season they will have to play champions league football and they lack the depth to compete on three tables. Milan lost their two best/important players and (probably) won’t be competing for the championship and while Napoli, Roma and Udinese have quality teams, only Inter seems to have the depth and the quality to make a serious run for the championship.
I don’t expect to do much in the Europa League (although I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final 4 of the competition) but I do expect to see the Inter I’ve seen win championships this season.
Let’s just hope everything goes right this year!
Benjamin Dalusma (aka BD)
BD can be followed on twitter @BD1592 or shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s that time of year again when shirts for the upcoming season are released and in association with the NikeStore we are able to offer you them delivered direct to your door. The home shirt this season reverts back to the classic two black stripes with black sleeves that is always a classic for our beloved colours, but the away shirt has broke away from the traditional white and is completely red with black and blue stripes on the sleeves! This shirt has been highly controversial with the Curva Nord Ultras writing a letter to Massimo Moratti voicing their disgust at using a red shirt (I don’t particularly like it myself if truth be told but the important thing is the badge on the chest!) The colour I am told is part of the deal Inter are striking with the Chinese Rail Company to build us our own stadium in the next few years so with this in mind it has my complete backing! (For this season at least!)
The new Home jersey features the traditional blue and black stripes. The black stripes are wider, giving the shirt a more dominant look. The classic black crew neck collar gives a simple, elegant look whilst the underside of the black cuff reveals a touch of blue. The inner back neck graphic on the shirt uses ‘Il Biscione’, the snake symbol of Milan, with the outer back neck graphic simply reading ‘Inter’. The all-black shorts have ‘Inter’ on the back waistband and a snakeskin pattern representing Il Biscione along the side seam. The socks are all black with a white ‘Inter’ graphic. They also offer a new and innovative design featuring an updated cotton footbed offering support and maximum comfort.
The new Away kit gives the team a bold new look to make an impact on the opposition: a uniform of bright red shirt, shorts and socks. The crew neck is red and ribbed, whilst the inner back neck graphic of the shirt is inspired by ‘Il Biscione’, the snake symbol that the city of Milan and Inter share. The outer back neck graphic simply reads ‘Inter’. The cuffs on the shirt sleeves are tipped with iconic black and blue – stamping the club’s heritage on the new strip. The shorts are totally red with ‘Inter’ on the back of the waistband and a snakeskin pattern representing ‘Il Biscione’ along the side seam. The red socks have a black and blue top and a white ‘Inter’ detail.
INTERNAZIONALE MONTHLY REVIEW: Gennaro/January
This is the first of what I hope is a regular monthly review of everything that has happened in the month just passed. Month by month I will look at all things Nerazzurri, the players, the goals, news and all things good, bad and little of the ugly from Inter this month.
Everyone knew after the Novara game that Gian Piero Gasperini wasn’t going to see the end of the next day as the Inter head coach but I can’t imagine that anyone thought that Massimo Moratti and Marco Branca would instate his replacement so quickly. This says to me of course that this has been in the pipeline for a little while and regardless of what has been said in previous weeks Gasperini was rapidly running out of time.
A few months ago when we were originally looking for Leonardo’s replacement Ranieri was amongst the list of candidates so it’s no real surprise that he was chosen. One crucial factor in his appointment is the fact he has been the coach of several top-level clubs and ‘The Tinkerman’ is known to have a talent for steadying a ship, which will be vital after Inter’s disastrous last couple of months. The downside of his appointment is that he is widely considered as ‘the best loser’ as he has a habit of coming close to honours of league titles or cup wins but always coming up short in the end. This isn’t as bad as it seems as long as Moratti only sees him as a short-term solution because with the chaos caused by Leonardo’s departure and Gasperini’s terrible era we need to be realistic and just set ourselves a target of qualifying for next seasons Champions league, anything beyond that would be a bonus and as much as I’d love to see our beloved club return to glory this season we need to settle the squad again and rebuild their shattered confidence, as Roberto Mancini said to the press recently Inter’s winning cycle has come to an end, as Interista we have to accept this fact and realise our priority now is to setup the new foundations to return the club to glory in the coming seasons.
This years Italian Supercup was one of the most anticipated of recent years with Inter taking on city rivals AC Milan, and like all Milan derbies it promised to be a great match, and to be honest it didn’t disappoint, though i’m starting to think that the Birds nest stadium is cursed for Inter as history repeated itself and just as we did two years ago we lost the Supercup 2-1. Inter came out fighting and played fantastically for the first 30 – 35 minutes showing a fluidity and vision that meant Milan hardly got a look in on the action, but towards the end of that half the Rossoneri started to get in to their stride which continued in to the second half which started a bit scrappy and it didn’t take long for Milan to get the equaliser going on to score again and win the match. I’m not going to pretend i’m not gutted that they beat us but i have to admit on the overall run of play they deserved the win. Personally I think the main cause of this defeat was down to bad decisions made by Gasperini, the first of these was changing the formation for the second half which meant Milan managed to do what they couldn’t for the majority of the first 45 minutes and take control of the midfield, his other mistakes were in his substitutions where twice he removed a player that was being very influential, which brings me to the positives today Obi and Alvarez were brilliant especially in the first half where they both showed great vision with intelligent passing and pacey runs that were leaving the Milan players standing which i thought was something exciting to look forward to seeing more of in the upcoming season, it also proved the italian press wrong when a few days ago they said ‘Ricky’ doesn’t have any pace. Of course one other point worth considering is the fact that Milan were playing with all their south American players, where as ours are still on holiday after the Coppa America with the only exceptions being Julio Cesar and Juavier Zanetti who returned early to cover the injured Viviano and Nagatomo who were both were ruled out in the pre-season.
Here we are just days before Inter take on AC Milan in the 2011 Italian Super Cup at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. The match, which will be shown live on RaiUno in Italy, kicks off at 20:00 local time (14:00 CET) on Saturday 6 August or for those like me that live outside of Italy you can find live streams of the match online at FreeFootball.org or at Free Live Sports TV. With the Derby della Madonnina in Serie A not coming till the 18th week (Jan 15th 2012), i’m thankful for this years Supercup being against our cross town rivals, even though it won’t be played at the Meazza, as that is a long time to have to wait for one of the highlights of the Calcio calender.
Though we managed to secure the Italian Super Cup against a terrible Roma team the European Super Cup was well out of our reach with a bad performance from the team and already it was starting to become clear Benitez had no control over the Inter squad. With a divide ripping through the Inter camp by December the Nerazzurri was looking half the team they were under Mourinho. Winning the Club World Cup got the spirit of the players and fans back up but Benitez still wasn’t happy and after an unproffesional outburst during the post match interview Moratti decided that enough was enough and fired the Spaniard.
The best thing that has happened for Inter this season is that they have relinquished the title. It has made Moratti realize that his squad needs a spark if he plans to sustain their success levels from years past. Moves are being made to address this issue and Leonardo’s confirmation as Coach for next season is the first step towards ensuring a stable and developmental approach for the future.
Coach – Leonardo:
The Brazilian’s statistics fail to highlight his failures but they reflect handsomely on his success. Inter won every single home game in the league under him but when it really mattered they failed to deliver. He definitely needs to work on the tactical side of the game, but motivationally he is one of the best and knows how to get the most out of his team.
Player of the Season – Samuel Eto’o:
There are no other contenders for this honour as without him, Inter would have been a laughing stock for the first half of their season. He took on the responsibility of scoring and delivered, resulting in 37 goals for Inter this season beating his previous personal best of 36 he scored for Barca, if he can continue in the same vein next season and with Pazzini along, Inter can feel secure.
Turning point – Milan 3-0 Inter:
This was the beginning of the end for Inter. They conceded in the opening minute and gradually lost the plot as the game unfolded. A win would have put them top, but they flopped and it was followed by an even worse performance against Schalke in the infamous 2-5 defeat.
What’s to come?
Hopefully Inter will break the habit of a lifetime and make a real effort to compete with Europe’s biggest teams to secure the signatures of some big names which means Moratti needs to spend some serious money, time will tell and all we can do is sit back and see what happens over the summer. One thing is definite though Inter will be a force to be reckoned with next season no matter what happens.
A completely sold-out Stadio Olimpico hosted two sides who had never met before in the final to determine the winner of the 63rd edition of the Coppa Italia. Eto’o gave Inter the lead with a cool finish in the 26th minute, following Sneijder’s perfectly weighted through ball. In the 76th minute, precisely the same combination sent the Nerazzurri fans wild with joy, as Inter placed a firm grasp on the cup. An eventful finale awaited, though, as Munoz pulled one back for Palermo on 88 minutes, before Milito stroked home two minutes into added time to seal the win. The Nerazzurri now have a seventh Coppa Italia to add to their trophy cabinet, and can count 15 trophies won in the last 7 years.
The president of the Italian Senate, Renato Schifani, handed over two trophies: the Coppa Italia to captain Zanetti and the cup to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification to Marco Materazzi.
Scorers: Eto’o 26 and 76, Munoz 88, Milito 90+2.
Booked: Acquah 27, Munoz 53 and 90, Carrozzieri 68.
Sent off: Munoz 90.
Added time: 1+5 minutes.
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 14 Kharja, 23 Materazzi, 25 Samuel.
Unused subs: 99 Benussi, 4 Kasami, 11 Liverani, 36 Darmian.
Coach: Delio Rossi.
Inter finally got the result they needed after 5 losses in a row, which puts them in a strong position to progress to the final after the second leg at the Guiseppe Meazza on the 11th May. Dejan Stankovic was the man to get the goal for the Nerazzurri with another superb long range effort from outside the box on the stroke of half time, this was in fact his 2nd goal of the game after his first got ruled out by a questionable refereeing decisions in the opening minutes. Both sides had their chances in the second half but the scoreline of 0-1 stayed the same. Inter looked by far the stronger side throughout the game but even saying that they were still no where near the level we know they are capable of, this win should however give them the confidence to finish the season on a good note, hopefully!!! My one criticism of the match was the fact that Leonardo paired Milito up front with Pandev instead of Pazzini the subbed Milito for Pazzini which is a shame as i was looking forward to seeing how Milito & Pazzini would play together but to be fair Pandev had a good game, he didn’t score or have any particularly good shots on the goal but he did work hard bringing the ball into attack.
FIRST HALF –
Leonardo went with Lucio and Ranocchia at the heart of the Nerazzurri defence, flanked by Maicon and Nagatomo; there was experience aplenty in midfield with Zanetti, Cambiasso and Stankovic, while Sneijder began in the hole behind strike pairing Milito and Pandev.
The Nerazzurri felt they had been hard done by once more in the 17th minute, when De Rossi’s handball in the box went unseen by the referee. Lucio then had a header saved by Doni after 21 minutes before the Brazilian centre-back returned to doing his day job down the other end five minutes later, denying Perrotta with a fantastic acrobatic interception following Cassetti’s cross. And he showed his worth again around the half hour mark with another timely tackle at full stretch to take the ball away from Borriello, a minute after De Rossi had fired an effort over.
Sneijder had another sight on goal in the 43rd minute but was unable to hit the target. Stankovic, however, definitely had his shooting boots on this evening and gave Inter the lead with an absoluter stonker of a goal: as the game ran into first-half stoppage time, the Serbian picked up Cambiasso’s pass 25 yards out and struck a thunderous right-footed effort with the outside of his boot that curled into the top corner leaving Doni with no chance. After a minute’s added time, the sides headed into the dressing rooms with the Nerazzurri a goal to the good.
The second half began with the same twenty-two and tensions soon began to rise, Vucinic lashing out at Lucio with an elbow that was missed by the referee. With 53 minutes on the clock, Roma almost found themselves two goals down: Pandev met Stankovic’s cross from the right and nodded goalwards, the ball came off Cassetti’s back and Doni went walkabout; Sneijder played the ball back towards the empty goal only to see Cassetti hack clear with Pandev ready to pounce. The home side went close themselves in the 64th minute, when Perrotta was inches away from connecting with Taddei’s cross. Stankovic called another handball by De Rossi in the box after 71 minutes, but the claims again fell on deaf ears. Sneijder went for goal once more with 10 minutes remaining and this time his cross hairs were centred but Doni was alert to it.
Roma upped the pressure as the game entered the final stages: Vucinic kept trying to find a way through and kept being shut out by the Nerazzurri rearguard. Then, in the 89th minute, Pazzini had a glorious chance to possibly put the tie beyond Roma’s reach when Sneijder picked out his run behind the defence, but Doni did well to close down the angle. In injury time Vucinic again went looking for an equaliser, with Maicon on hand to snuff out the danger this time.
Roma 0-1 Inter (HT: 0-1)
Scorer: Stankovic 45.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Bologna).
Booked: Taddei 5, Maicon 14, Burdisso 51, Ranocchia 57, Sneijder 59.
Added time: 1+4 minutes.
32 Doni; 77 Cassetti (Rosi 78), 29 N. Burdisso, 4 Juan, 17 Riise; 7 Pizarro, 16 De Rossi; 11 Taddei, 20 Perrotta (Simplicio 73), 9 Vucinic; 22 Borriello (Menez 63).
Unused subs: 1 Lobont, 3 Castellini, 15 Loria, 33 Brighi.
Coach: Vincenzo Montella.
1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic (Mariga 90+4); 10 Sneijder; 27 Pandev (Obi 82), 22 Milito (Pazzini 75).
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 14 Kharja, 23 Materazzi, 26 Chivu.
“It was important to break the string of poor results. Many times it seems easy to do but it’s not, because managing all the different factors in a match is never easy,” began Leonardo when commenting on the first leg victory in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia against Roma.
The Nerazzurri coach continued: “The team did well to react and get the win, which is never a given here in the Stadio Olimpico. I witnessed an excellent management of the play over the first 90 minutes. Now there’s the return leg at the San Siro, with everything still to play for.”
The inevitable question arose about his future. However, Leonardo responded: “I have no worries about the future. I live for today and I don’t even think about the rest; I live my own experience with the club and the president. We have a great rapport that is very open. What matters is finding the solutions to make the team win, as we saw this evening with an extraordinary goal from Stankovic – not to mention his fantastic performance. Pandev did excellent work to close down spaces and then restart in attack. Sneijder did a great job as well. The 4-4-1-1? We’re always looking for the best way to face the game. The team in general was very good. Was Milito disappointed to come off? I don’t really think so. Quite the opposite; his form is on the rise and he played a great game. In the second half, among other things, we had the chances to make it 2-0. But aside from that, the team responded well in general. Eto’o’s condition? We have to evaluate over the next few days, as we do for other players.”
Leonardo closed by commenting on the next few games facing the team: “Inter must try to maintain consistency; there have been defeats that took away our rhythm, but now we have to recover it, remaining calm and clear of mind. This evening was a test of maturity and clearness. I repeat, it wasn’t easy to find the proper calmness to take on a semi-final. A test for the team? After Parma there were final judgements handed out when, in football, they are never final. Our duty was to break the string of poor results. However, I had never seen a team that was absent; at times they even had too much desire, and this was creating a bit of confusion.”
“An important victory in a stadium that is never easy. It followed a difficult moment, and I think that this evening Inter showed a great response.” Javier Zanetti’s comments to the microphones of Rai Sport after the Nerazzurri’s 1-0 victory over Roma in the first leg of semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. “We played a great game against a tough opponent. It’s never been easy to win here in Rome,” continued the captain.
As to whether or not this result was a response to the many rumours going around in recent days speculating on the future of the coach, Zanetti explained in his closing statements: “I’ve always said that Leonardo is doing a great job. Let’s forget about what’s being said and focus on Saturday’s match against Lazio.”
“We prepared the game with the captain. The team was very united; we wanted to win and we did.” In a few simple words Yuto Nagatomo explained to Inter Channel how Inter were able to overcome Roma and win the first leg semi-final of the Coppa Italia.
“It was a very tough game but we never lost concentration and we earned a major victory. We can’t think about being tired; we have to win every game that awaits us from here until the end of the season. My performance tonight? I think it went pretty well, but I still have to improve a lot,” stated the Japanese full-back.
Another top performance, another goal to remember. Dejan Stankovic led Inter to a win in the first leg against Roma in the semi-final of the 2010-11 Coppa Italia, and he described the highs and lows of this evening’s match to Inter Channel: “I’m happy for the win. We were coming out of a difficult period and we did it as a group and as a team. But when a team like Roma stands in your way you can’t say that qualification is already secured.”
Stankovic admitted: “There’s regret for the league because we did so much to get to the derby. But we can’t say anything bad about this team because it’s a great team and it’s difficult to win everything, every year. I believe that if we manage to qualify for the Champions League and win another trophy, then this current season could be considered a good one. If we look back a few years, we would have to remember that the Coppa Italia has always been a very important trophy for Inter.”
Finally, a comment on the goals of Dejan Stankovic: “Never ordinary? [smiling] Well, let’s just say they are rarely tap-ins… However, the most important thing is that the one tonight earned a victory for the team. Now we’re preparing for the Lazio match with a low profile: compact and ready to set off again.”
The Coppa Italia tie between Roma and Inter has been dubbed as “the semi-final of the frustrated”, but perhaps lots of people have forgotten that the Nerazzurri have already won two competitions this season…