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Mails: Italy’s failure highlights the influence of Conte

Send your thoughts to…   Premier League play-offs There was a mail recently which argued that due to the strength of the Premier League at the top it was harder for our teams to compete in Europe. In short Germany, Spain, France, and Italy all have leagues dominated by 1 or 2 teams which means they can take it easy for league games and save their best form for the Champions League. A similar point was made when arguing that PL clubs can’t give youth a chance due to the pressure to finish in the top 4. I’d suggest the best solution for these issues would be a Premier League playoff system to end the season. So after all 38 games the top 6 teams enter the playoffs, the top 2 bypass the first round of matches leaving 3rd vs 6th and 4th vs 5th in the first round. The winners of the first round are then drawn against the top 2 for the semis (these 4 teams then get UCL qualification) and the winners go to the final to win the Premier League trophy. So the opportunity to win the league can now be obtained by reaching 6th. This will be about the bear minimum from City, Chelsea, United, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal but yet is actually achievable for Everton, Watford, Southampton, Newcastle etc. So the pressure is off the bigger teams meaning they can afford to give youth a chance and save their best for the Europe, smaller teams would actually have a shot at winning the league by concentrating their efforts into achieving 6th. As a bonus we get 5 very juicy games at the end of the league season, between the top sides in the land with everything to play for. Sounds like a good idea to me Dave, Manchester (fully expecting someone to point out why this idea is stupid)   European standards slipping If nothing else, I think the results and performances in these UEFA World Cup playoffs proves that, below the top of the table qualifiers , there is a really lack of quality among European nations. Teams are very well organised and can execute a game-plan very efficiently, but ask them to roam forward and score a goal and, with the exception of Croatia, no one appears capable of doing this. I include Italy in this, whatever the reasons and the coach’s failings, they still didn’t have sufficient quality to break down a game but skillfully limited Swedish side. This is compounded by the involvement of the two Irish teams. I have nothing against either country, but just looking at the make-up of the two sides, these are clearly teams that are greater than the sum of their parts and fair play to them. This is all essential to success in football, of course, but they are hardly inspiring, top level players who make people sit up and watch. Their inclusion in the play offs is an achievement in itself but also, unfortunately, a damning indictment of the lack of quality of the other nations in their groups. I hope I am mistaken, and I will be as excited as ever come June next year, but these games seem merely a portent of the sort of standard, tactics and and entertainment levels we will be looking forward to on the world stage in Russia. Rob (I’m not normally this negative on a Tuesday but might be something to do with the insipid sandwich I have just consumed), Leicester   The World Cup must contain these teams… A rare miss from the ever lovely Peter G this morning. Italy have been p**s boring for over a decade, and I’ll not miss them this World Cup. Instead, here (because I am always right), is the correct list of teams which should always be at a world cup. – Brazil. Obviously. Because they are always entertaining, either due to brilliant, skilful, football or hilariously getting hammered by Germany. – USA. If only because it pleases me that a nation who mostly don’t even know that a world cup is happening do so much better than many nations which have football as the national sport and would gladly sacrifice significant land mass in exchange for one world cup trophy. – Germany. Because anything else would just be really weird. – One of the home nations who aren’t England. They seem to actually enjoy it. – Japan. Japanese football is great. Japan is great. – Two historically warring nations. Don’t mind which two. Partly because we can pretend that everything is okay for a little while, and that football can bridge divides and whatnot, but also because there’s a chance of a fight. Which no one likes to see, and there’s no place for that in football. – Switzerland. Always have the best kit, and that attention to detail should be rewarded. – Senegal. That opening game in 2002 gets you a lifetime pass to the World Cup. Congratulations, Senegal. – Someone who has never qualified before. Preferably with difficult to pronounce names, who cheerfully get hammered in their opening matches before getting a plucky draw against us in the final group game, so angry pundits can say thing like “no disrespect to Bhutan, but we should be beating this lot easily – they’ve got an actual goat playing left-back, and 3 of their players were snowed in and never made the tournament”. That’s the lot. Everyone else has to qualify, and I can take or leave them. FIFA – please note and implement asap. Jeremy Aves   Conte made the difference I am surprised that no one mentioned Antonio Conte’s role to a great detail so far. Granted, the news of Gianluigi Buffon missing out on his last World Cup really is tragedy-like. What a lovely player. Anyway, the Italian squad that lost the two-legged tie against Sweden is almost similar to the squad that did quite well in the last European Championships. It is fair to say that they miss a manager that can instill belief like Conte. Conte came up with an organised plan for Italy and utilise the players he has fully to get the best out of it. It is clear that Italy’s current manager Ventura is nowhere near that level. The players did not seem to believe they can be better than on the paper. Shame that Italy will miss the World Cup. Vincentius, Cambridge   Swap England for Italy? Finding myself genuinely upset by last nights result and the...


Published By: Fottball 365 - Tuesday, 14 November, 2017

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