This Thursday, September 4, 2014, Italy and Netherlands will measure forces at Stadio San Nicola in Bari on a friendly match that will grant both sides the chance to prepare their Euro 2016 Qualifying round clashes a few days later.
After a fairly mediocre World Cup campaign under the helm of Cesare Prandelli, who joined Galatasaray in the meantime, Italy are ready to start a new and hopefully profitable era of their football history by the hand of former Juventus’ head coach, Antonio Conte. The former Italian midfielder was probably the main person responsible for the Vecchia Signora’s dominance at the Serie A over the last few years and he will now try to replicate that same level of success at the helm of the squadra azzurra.
Antonio Conte was the mentor of the Juventus’ bold 3-5-2 formation and it is likely that he will try to implement something similar at the Italian National Team in the future. In a recent interview, Conte reaffirmed how important it would be for Italy to impose themselves once again as the great nation of football they used to be and to learn from their mistakes at the World Cup 2014: “We must experience this with enthusiasm and joy, bringing Italy back to where they deserve, because after Brazil we are the most important football nation in the world, (…) My team must be humble, proud and gritty. We have to win back the affection of the people.”
For the match against the Dutch next Thursday, Conte will not be able to rely on the contribution of the erratic Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, who is currently suspended, and of Giorgio Chiellini, Gabriel Paletta and Pablo Osvaldo, all sidelined due to injury.
On the other side of the barricade, this match will also mark the start of a new era for Dutch football. The departure of Louis Van Gaal to Manchester United prompted the return of Guus Hiddink to the held of the “Clockwork Orange”, sixteen years after he left the National team to join Real Madrid. Contrary to Italy, the Netherlands left a very positive image of themselves during last Summer’s tournament as they were only knocked out in the semi-finals by Argentina.
Guus Hiddink’s game style is fairly different from the one Van Gaal implemented at the Dutch team, since he privileges a more free flowing attacking game, based on quality short passing movements and quality of possession.
For next Thursday’s match, the new Dutch manager will not be able to count on the latest World Cup’s star Arjen Robben, Huntelaar, Clasie, Ron Vlaar and Rafael van der Vaart, all sidelined due to injury.
Italy vs Netherlands Prediction
If we were to closely analyse both sides’ recent displays, Holland are favourites to win the match, although if we also bear in mind that this is the beginning of a new chapter both for Italy and Holland, the match’s final outcome might be unpredictable. This being said, the most likely result is 1-0 for Italy.
Italy (3-5-2) – Buffon – Ranocchia – Bonucci – Astori – Darmian – De Sciglio – Parolo – De Rossi – Marchisio – Giovinco – El Shaarawi
Holland (4-4-2) – Cillessen – Janmaat – Veltman – De Vrij – Martins Indi – Verhaegh – Blind – Wijnaldum – Sneijder – Van Persie – Depay
Italy vs Netherlands TV Schedule
The Italy vs Netherlands friendly will be televised in the USA on RAI Internazionale at 11:45 AM Pacific.