Italian teams stumble in Europe

by Niccolo Conte on September 17, 2010 · 4 comments

The Champions League and the Europa League are now priorities, now that the Bundesliga has surpassed the Serie A, Italian teams need to pull their weight in European competition. The first matchday of the group stages of the Champions League and the Europa League didn't play out too well for the Italian clubs involved. Out of the seven teams which played in European competition this midweek, there was only one win. Other than that there were two losses, and four draws. A record which needs to improve if the Serie A wants to return to having four Champions League places.

AC Milan were the team which managed to win, it was Ibrahimovic who sealed a 2-0 win against Auxerre, as the big Swede netted both the goals. While in the first half AC Milan didn't look too brilliant, they began to spice up in the second, creating chances and eventually winning the match.

But even this win was given a dark tone, in a post match interview, Zlatan Ibrahimovic began to insult Arrigo Sacchi on TV. The former Italian great had made a witty remark that if Zlatan's foot wasn't as big as it is, he wouldn't have reched the ball to score the first goal. Ibrahimovic took this very personally and  responded with some heavy criticism of the Milan legend which can be read below:

“Sacchi should learn to shut up. He also seems jealous because he is speaking too much. He must speak less on TV and in the newspapers. If he wants something, he must come and see me. If you don’t like how I play, don’t watch me.”

This is the main gist of what Ibrahimovic was saying, the studio was in shock, and as Sacchi tried to explain to Ibrahimovic that he didn't mean it as an offence, the Swede continued to interrupt him. The interview finished with Sacchi telling Zlatan that he might want to learn some manners, and Zlatan abruptly ending the interview. This is not good news for AC Milan fans, especially since Ibrahimovic has also been practicing his karate against his teammates in training.

But on to more depressing things, Roma lost to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena 2-0. The giallorossi were defending valiantly until Thomas Muller opened the scoring with a stunning volley. The young German used the outside of his right foot, perfectly curling the ball around Julio Sergio, and into the back of Roma's goal. Klose scored the second for Bayern, he slipped in front of his marker during a free kick, and easily put the ball past Julio Sergio.

Palermo also lost away from home, their defence was mostly to blame, as they lost 3-2 against Sparta Praha. Maccarone and Hernandez scored for Palermo, and the team will have to recover quickly from this loss considering that they'll have to play against Inter Milan this upcoming weekend.

Juventus drew 3-3 at home against Lech Poznan, a disappointing result which almost ended in a 3-2 win for the bianconeri, but Rudnevs scored a late equalizer. Juve went 2-0 down, but fought back with two goals from Chiellini, and one from Del Piero, but the team will just need to work on their defence, to not concede late goals like the one which spoiled the party today.

Sampdoria and Napoli both drew, the blucerchiati were winning 1-0 against PSV Eindhoven in the Philips Stadion, but it was a late goal by Dzsudzsak which drew the match. Napoli on the other hand played out a 0-0 draw at home against Utrecht, a disappointing result to say the least, maybe Bari shook them up more than I thought.

In the Champions League, Inter Milan could only manage a 2-2 draw against Twente. The nerazzurri went a goal up away from home thanks to a tap in by Sneijder, but then Twente pulled two back. One of the goals for Twente was an unfortunate own goal by Diego Milito, the Argentine headed into his own net from a corner. At 2-1 down, it was Eto'o who patched things up for the current holders of the trophy, he slipped a ball into the back of the net which ended the match at 2-2.

Some disappointing results to say the least, what are your thoughts on how the Italian teams did in European competition? Share your comments below!

4 comments… read them below or add one

1 Rami S. September 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

Hi Niccolo,

I think one thing I noticed and is somewhat familiar to the problem facing the Azzurri (was very evident in the World Cup) is the pace of the Italian teams is slower than the big teams in Europe and even some of the average ones.

The other issue is while Serie A remains very tactical in the approach, the Italian clubs are no longer as strong defensively, such as in the 1990s, and this can be seen by the goals conceded by Juventus, Palermo and Roma.


2 Niccolo Conte September 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Yes, sadly Italian teams think that they can tactically outwit anyone with their defensive football. Sadly, that used to work because you had great players in defence, but things have changed a little, there’s a lot more talent in attack these days. This is mainly because every Juve fan dreams to be like Del Piero, every AC Milan fan like Pippo Inzaghi, etc. but no fans dream to be defenders…


3 Rami S. September 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

Hi Niccolo,

One thing I should mention is Inter are in a tansitional period and do not seem to be as stable at this stage.

I wrote a piece last year about Serie A in general and I think many points are still valid and until they are addressed there will be no improvement overall.
Below is the link on the site:


4 Rami S. September 18, 2010 at 11:43 am

One other note about Ibra: he could change the atmosphere in the dressing room with his erratic and often irrational actions. While Milan signed talented players in Ibra and Robinho, they also brought in two players who are renowned for not being team players and who prefer to focus on their individualistic approach.

Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about Milan recently:


Leave a Comment