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The rise of Italian football
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-02-28 14:21:54
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
As the years passed in the 1920s, Italian football was increasingly enhancing its football repertoire, thus becoming one of the greatest forces in the world. Through tactical changes, new big names in local football and, above all, with the help of players belonging to South American football, Italy has formed teams of the highest caliber in the world.
It was in the second half of the 1920s that the rise of Italian football took off. Before that, they already had big names, such as Luigi Cevenini, Renzo De Vecchi, Adolfo Baloncieri, Bernardini and among other names that were also part of the generations of the late 1920s and the 1930s.
Italy calls its sons.
Without being present in the main columns of Europe, South American football, in a quiet way, developed to a level of competing for world sovereignty. And their players, moreover, had a technique, psychological and physical preparation above the average of other players from other parts of the world. The Olympic Games and the tours carried out by the South American teams served as a showcase for their players, and the Italian contracts were gold mines for these same players. As Hugo Meisl mentioned before, players like Raimundo Orsi, for instance, received much more than several Austrian players combined! And indeed, Orsi made fortunes and more fortunes in his glory days for Juventus F.C., the first big squad of Juventus.
Therefore, with proposals almost irrefutable and projects said to be long-lived, several South American players of Italian descent went to play in their mother Italy's soil. After Orsi, other big names like Héctor Scarone — who had previously played for F.C. Barcelona —, Pedro Petrone, Luis Monti — Orsi's Argentina teammate — and several others joined the Italian teams.
The style of Italian football has always been more defensive than the football of other nations. In line with the vigour, determination, speed and temperament of the Latin style, new tactics emerged on Italian soil. However, even before the development of its main formation — the Italian system —, Italy, through the great performances of its big names, was already a great European power. And this was already demonstrated in the 1928 Olympic Games and especially in the post-Olympic period, when South American footballers began to join Azzurri.
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LW CF RW
At the end of the decade, due to the change in the offside rule, new systems were developed for teams to better adapt to these changes. Through William Aitken, a former Scottish player, the system that was later named 'WM' was implemented at Juventus F.C. However, over the course of the 1929/30 Italian Championship, Juventus lost strength. In the second half of the 1929/30 season, Ambrosiana-Inter, who were still playing in the old system, imitated part of the system that Juventus implemented, but without having the centre-half retreated as a stopper. With that, as the story goes, the Nerazzurri team won the championship that same season.
With WM, another system appeared on Italian soil, which was later used by most Italian teams and the National Team. With an attack based on a 'W' with the insiders even further back than in English football, the wing half-backs being set back and very close to the touchline, the centre-half between the two defenders and both insiders emerged, thus, the main version of the Italian system called Metodo.
In such a way and with this system gaining more fans and being used, it was marked as one of the best systems in Europe. Furthermore, it was playing in this same system that Italy won its first title, the Švehla Cup 1927/1930. The last match of the tournament, the decisive match against Hungary in Budapest, which saw an extraordinary 0:5 score for Italy, marked this system with tremendous success. As the years passed, the Italians, more precisely the National Team, won the other two major tournaments of the time: the II. and III. World Championships — 1934 & 1938.
New aces & knowledge from abroad.
It was not just the enrichment imported from South American football stars and a new system that leveraged Italian football, but the production of new great footballers was another aspect that strengthened Italy.
With a new generation that had players like Giuseppe Meazza, Giovanni Ferrari, Silvio Piola, among other more incisive players and a large scale of defenders and half-backs that were formed in the 1920s and what more others joined in the 1930s, Italy formed teams that not only reached a high level in world football, but were largely regular in their achievements.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, Italy always had great defenders who were at the highest levels. The Rosetta-Caligaris duo was the most outstanding from the period of ascension until the event of II. World Championship in 1934, in addition to others such as Eraldo Monzeglio, Luigi Allemandi, with Pietro Rava and Alfredo Foni later — another pair of Juventus defenders fortifying the Azzurri.
Leaded by the person of Giuseppe Meazza, since 1930 Italy has added glories and more glories; comparing themselves to other very strong teams like Wunderteam and the English national teams. Firming up, thus, slightly as one of the powers of world football.
In addition to the formation of new great stars of Italian football, which, consequently, was a reflection of the increase in power of other clubs as is the case of Torino — Baloncieri was — and other great teams of the 1930s such as Juventus F.C., Ambrosiana-Inter & Bologna, Italy brought international knowledge to their soil. For instance, Italy opened its doors to several coaches from the British Isles, Hungary, Austria and brought names engraved in the history of Italian football such as Renzo De Vecchi. This sum of knowledge and methods applied to Italian football were an invaluable gem for the formation of great players, consequently great teams.