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Italy must convert against Brazil

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Italy must convert against Brazil

Post by CJCorka on Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:07 am

Italy’s problems at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 stem from a poor record of scoring from just one in 12 of their attempts on goal, according to Castrol Performance Analysis.

That return compares unfavourably with the average conversion rate of around one in eight chances across Europe’s top leagues, the UEFA Champions League and International tournaments and largely explains why the chances of Marcello Lippi’s side reaching the semi-finals now hang in the balance.

Italy’s weaknesses in front of goal were all too evident during the defeat to Egypt when they fired in four times as many shots as their opponents yet still lost 1-0.

And it was a similar story in the opening Group game when the 2006 FIFA World CupTM winners struggled against a USA side reduced to ten men before eventually running out 3-1 winners.

Vincenzo Iaquinta and Andrea Pirlo have both had six shots without managing to find the net, the most in the competition. With five of his six shots inside the penalty box, Juventus striker Iaquinta has been the most wasteful, especially against Egypt when four of his shots were saved by keeper Essam El-Hadary.

Italy lie second in Group B, level on points with third-placed Egypt, knowing that victory over Brazil in their final Group game may not be enough to secure a place in the last four.

Brazil, meanwhile, have proved far more clinical up front, scoring one in four chances and if the pattern continues, the South Americans are three times as likely to convert an opportunity than the Azurri when the two teams meet.

Castrol Ambassador Alan Shearer is in no doubt that Italy need to improve ... “The stats don’t lie and you can’t hide. They will highlight weaknesses in your game and areas that you need to work on.”

Winning the aerial battle is the key to Brazil’s success

Brazil have won almost 70% of their aerial battles, helping them dominate their opponents in both penalty areas at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009, according to Castrol Performance Analysis.

The South American side’s strength in the air means they lead the way with three headed goals in the tournament so far, while no other team can match their mark of 39 headed defensive clearances. Defenders Juan and Miranda have each won four of their five aerial duels, the most among the Selecao.

Brazil’s aerial dominance is also reflected in the success of their crossing. With several potential targets in the box in open-play and at set-plays, it is no surprise that Brazil have posted the best crossing accuracy so far with 34% of the centres finding a team-mate.

That performance reflects the competitive edge of Dunga’s team who have also won a higher percentage of individual duals - head-to-head confrontations such as players taking on defenders in dribbles, stopping opponents with tackles as well as aerial challenges – than any other team in the competition.

Their determined approach mean they head Group B with two wins out of two and go into the final Group game with Italy needing just a point to secure their place in the semi-finals.

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