The 2014 FIFA World Cup started with controversy in the first few games of the weekend. The big game that everyone was looking forward to this weekend though was England vs Italy. The two European power houses had a first match in the humid Maunaus stadium located literally in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest. The conditions were overwhelming near the end of the match with both teams cramping almost every minute. While other players received aid from each other and trainers to try and alleviate the pain there was one Italian veteran who didn’t seemed bothered at all by the heat. In fact it was just another day at the office for Andrea Pirlo.
Pirlo is respected across the world as being one of soccer’s most outstanding mid-fielders. His contributions led Italy to defeat England on Saturday. Pirlo assisted on one of the goals and made key passes all night to aide in the group play victory. Pirlo has never been known for his size, speed, expertise as a defender, or his physicality. He is however an extremely gifted with his touch passing, control dribbling, vision and ability to improvise outstanding plays. He is also renowned for his placement of key passes that have aided the Azzurri for the better part of the previous 15 years.
Pirlo’s performace Saturday night showed why he is nicknamed “the architect” and the “professor”. The 35 year old Italian captain showed poise and intelligence as he roamed the deep midfield for most of the night doing a lot of damage without touching the ball. His big play was being in a position as a dummy player that sucked England’s Daniel Sturridge away from Italy’s Claudio Marchisio who then scored Italy’s first goal of the cup.
According to one English writer, Matt Barlow, Pirlo “stands where there is room and the game gravitates his way. It is not an accident… There is no one in English football to match (him). He protects the ball and never gives it away and his head is always swiveling around, looking for openings, checking out the movement around him.” Its this sort of play that makes him and Italy dangerous. Along with talented forwards like, Mario Balotelli and Marchisio, the play of Pirlo gives Italy a chance in every game. Their play might not shock and amaze like others in the cup but with Pirlo at the helm any miscue has the ability to become a goal and a win for the Italians. Image Courtesy of dailymail.uk