Our series will review the wonderful performances of some well-known stars in key games. Some of them are the masterpieces of palace-level stars, and some are the rare performances of first-class players in the history of world football.
We always like to look at history with colored glasses, or modify it subjectively according to the subsequent development of the story. Therefore, looking back at the past after a long period of time will help us discover the truth.
In this column, we will review a game eight years ago. The protagonist of the story is Pirlo. The background of the story is the European Cup quarter-final match between Italy and England in 2012.
Because this is a typical England defeat by a talented player-like Jan Tomaszewski in 1973, Diego Maradona in 1986 and Brolin in 1992. In 2012, it was Italian Pirlo who conquered England.
因为这是典型的英格兰战役，例如1973年的Jan Tomaszewski，1986年的Diego Maradona和1992年的Brolin等才华横溢的球员。2012年，意大利的Pirlo征服了英格兰。
Pirlo almost prevented the English from getting close in the game. Hodgson's England was eliminated in a familiar way-a penalty kick. Pirlo has been in control of the game for nearly two hours. In this case If the Italian team is defeated, it is undoubtedly shameful.
For Pirlo, who won the Champions League trophy twice and won the best player in the 2006 World Cup final, England fans have never been too cold about him. Perhaps this is the case for the Englishman-if a world-class player wants to win the hearts of English fans, he must prove himself in the game against the English team.
Let's use Ibrahimovic as an example. Although the Swedes played for a total of five teams from the beginning of the 2002-03 season to the 2010-11 season, and the league championship was soft, many English people did not recognize it before-until the Swedes played a friendly against England. Scored a shocking barb in the game.
In this regard, Pirlo did a better job than Ibrahimovic.
In less than two years of this game, Pirlo’s autobiography has been translated into English. Except for some Italian players who have played in the Premier League, almost no autobiography of Italian stars has been translated into English and published, whether it is Maldini or Piero. Luo or Totti.
But Pirlo did it.
A year ago, many people thought that Pirlo's career was over.
Although AC Milan won the Serie A championship in the 2010-11 season, Pirlo missed most of the games due to injury. The former midfielder hasn't slapped Fang Qiu in the Champions League for many years, and the level of competition is far from the peak of 2006.
In the 2008 European Cup quarter-finals against Spain, Pirlo was suspended and failed to play. At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Pirlo was on the sidelines due to a strained leg muscle, and Lippi led the Italian team in the group stage to find a victory and disgrace.
In 2011, Pirlo began to recover.
Juventus ushered in the new coach Conte, the team moved into the new stadium, and they also signed Pirlo from AC Milan. In the two seasons before that, Juventus ranked seventh in the league. After Pirlo arrived, the championship trophy began to reside in Turin. He is the key to Juventus' revival.
Almost at the same time, the Italian national team appointed a very tactical and forward-looking head coach.
Prandelli admires the ball-handling tactics of Barcelona and the Spanish national team, and he has recruited many midfielders with deep passing skills. Prandelli's Italian team used a diamond-shaped midfielder, and Pirlo did his part to occupy the position of the main midfielder. De Rossi, Marchisio, Montolivo and Thiago Motta took turns to play.
普兰德利（Prandelli）欣赏巴塞罗那和西班牙国家队的控球战术，并且他招募了许多具有深厚传球技巧的中场球员。普兰德利（Prandelli）的意大利队使用了菱形中场，而皮尔洛（Pirlo）尽了自己的职责，占据了主要中场的位置。 De Rossi，Marchisio，Montolivo和Thiago Motta轮流参加比赛。
In the game against England, Pirlo, who was in the midfielder position, controlled the rhythm of the game.
England’s defeat is actually not to blame for Hodgson. Capello resigned in February of that year. Hodgson was appointed as the head coach of the Three Lions five weeks before the start of the game. He did not have enough time to practice tactics. The England team had to adopt a traditional parallel in haste. 4-4-2 formation, so Pirlo got a lot of space between the two lines.
It's hard to recall any other player who decided the game by himself.
In that game, Pirlo was omnipotent, largely because he was Italy's offensive and defensive hub, and the England team did not try to target it.
The data tells it all: Pirlo has 131 passes, far ahead of all other players on the field-the closest thing to him is Montolivo's 94. In contrast to the England team, in the 120-minute game time, no player even passed 41 passes.
Pirlo displayed his passing skills, using three kinds of passes to keep away the fighting spirit of the English. The first is a simple short pass. The goals of the pass are usually De Rossi and Marchisio, who are closest to him, as well as looking for two full-backs Abate and Balzaretti's side pass, and then some are based on Balotelli made a long pass for the goal, the latter's speed is the Italian team's sharp knife into the opponent's heart.
The last type of pass best reflects Pirlo's profound skills in passing. In the game, Pirlo once got the ball in front of his penalty area. No one in England came forward to press it. After the Juventus midfielder took 20 yards forward, he suddenly made a long pass to find Balotelli. After catching the ball, he ran a long distance, and finally Terry tried his best to destroy the attack. In the second half, Pirlo tried to find Balotelli with a long pass, but Joe Hart got a little bit more power. Pirlo's long pass in overtime again created a great threat, but Balotelli made a terrible stop. A good opportunity was wasted.
Looking back at this game after eight years, the most intuitive impression is that the pace of the game is quite procrastinated.
The England team did not adopt high-position pressure tactics. After losing the ball, they will quickly retreat to the third defensive zone, so that the Italian team can organize the attack in an orderly manner, and Pirlo, who is good at passing, could speed up the pace.
Pirlo lacked a diagonal pass line due to Prandelli's four-midfield double-center formation.
In Juventus, Pirlo is often in a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 system, especially the 3-5-2 formation is equipped with strong offensive wing guards on both sides, Conte’s tactics Great emphasis is placed on widening the width of the court, and will arrange active players on the side to be ready to plug in to deal with corner passes. However, in the game against England, the Italian team's wing was not active. Except for a few precise long passes aimed at Balotelli, Pirlo was unable to perform the "football quarterback" diagonal long passes that the club had handed in.
Nevertheless, Pirlo still firmly controls the rhythm of the game. Restricting Pirlo was originally the responsibility of Rooney and Welbeck, but Rooney’s physical condition does not seem to be enough to affect the game without the ball, so we can often hear Joe Hart constantly reminding Rooney loudly. Interfere with Pirlo.
So the situation on the field is basically like this-the oppression of the England team is casual, and Pirlo himself is in a very good state.
Pirlo's most glorious moment was in a penalty shoot-out outside of regular game time. His spoon penalty perfectly fooled Joe Hart. This four-or-two penalty kick fully embodies the outstanding midfielder genius. Calmness and technology.
But this penalty is not like Pirlo's style, although he is a talented player, but Pirlo has always been known for efficiency and low-key. There are reports that Pirlo is teaching Joe Hart, and the Italian No. 21 has insisted that the spoon penalty is the most efficient method of penalty kicks.
"When I started to run, I still didn't think about how to kick this penalty, and then I found that Joe Hart had moved, and then I started from the heart," Pirlo explained in his autobiography. "It was completely improvisation, no script. I just tried my best to get close to 100%. I definitely didn't mean to show off my skills, that's not my style."
"I understand that this explanation may upset some people, and some people will think I lied, but the truth is often not so romantic."
Still about this penalty.
After Pirlo made a penalty kick, the Italian team did not take the lead. In fact, the two sides had just tied. Before the England team made two free throws, but the Italian side Montolivo missed. If Pirlo missed a penalty, Ashley Young, who played for England next, has a chance to kill the game. In this case, Pirlo scored the ball, Ashley Young’s penalty kick hit the crossbar, and the plot went in the opposite direction.
There is one more noteworthy detail in the second half. Joe Hart kicked the ball to find high center Andy Carroll, who was on the bench. Unexpectedly, Pirlo suddenly appeared and competed for a header on the 193cm tall Andy Carroll. As a delayed midfielder, Pirlo's athletic ability and stealing ability are often questioned, but his defense is actually underestimated.
Pirlo led the Italian team to defeat the German team in the semifinals. In the final, the Italian team unfortunately met the explosive Spanish team.
After the game, Pirlo was nominated as a candidate for the European Cup Golden Globe Award. He was also elected as the best player in Serie A in 2012 and won this award in 2013. In 2014, Pirlo, who was 35 years old, continued his extremely stable competitive state, which made him one of Italy's most admired players.
Two years later, at the World Cup in Brazil, Italy and England met again.
The English obviously had a psychological shadow on Pirlo. After Rooney had proved unable to limit Pirlo, Hodgson put 19-year-old Sterling on the front line and Rooney went to the left. Sterling performed conscientiously, even so, Pirlo still offered a wonderful performance.
Sending someone to mark it may not necessarily limit Pirlo's play, but it is at least a meaningful attempt.