Pirlo blast as Az­zurri face shock fi­nals blow

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - Paul Hether­ing­ton By NEIL NAI­SMITH

GARETH SOUTH­GATE has re­vealed that Eng­land will fol­low Ger­many’s model to be­come suc­cess­ful on the world stage once more.

The na­tional tema boss claims the key to be­ing win­ners is to stick with young play­ers af­ter they have been iden­ti­fied for the fu­ture.

And Ger­many’s World Cup-win­ning boss, Joachim Low, be­lieves Eng­land are on the right lines af­ter what he saw from a young Three Lions side in Fri­day’s 0-0 draw at Wem­b­ley.

Low ad­mit­ted: “It was a real test. Since 2014, Eng­land have im­proved a lot. They have a lot of young, dy­namic play­ers.”

An en­cour­aged South­gate said: “The rea­son I was given this job was that I have an un­der­stand­ing of what is com­ing through.

“We’ve looked at what Ger­many have done over a pe­riod of time and want to es­tab­lish a path­way for our young play­ers.

“If we do that, the tech­ni­cal type of player that is com­ing through our sys­tem now and the ath­letic pro­file we have got could be re­ally ex­cit­ing.

“I don’t think it is ap­ing Ger­many but our job is to an­a­lyse why teams from other coun­tries are be­ing suc­cess­ful and what our sys­tem looks like. We would be fool­ish not to see the signs of Spain and Ger­many be­ing suc­cess­ful fol­low­ing suc­cess at youth level – and stick­ing with some con­ti­nu­ity with the way they play and the peo­ple in­volved.

“I en­joyed watch­ing us play against Ger­many and I haven’t en­joyed watch­ing us play in all our games.

“But away in Ger­many, against Spain and now Ger­many at home I’ve en­joyed the per­for­mance.”

South­gate was de­lighted with the de­buts of play­maker Ruben Lof­tus-Cheek, 21, goal­keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford, 23, and de­fender Joe Gomez, 20.

He said: “The likes of Ruben, Gomez when he came on and Jor­dan have shown re­ally good qual­i­ties.

Harry Winks is the same. We had to get the balance through qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the World Cup, then we could start to look at some of these guys. “It’s not all go­ing to hap­pen be­fore next sum­mer and some of them might not be ready for that but there are ex­cit­ing young English play­ers com­ing through.

“I will pick the play­ers that are play­ing well and who we be­lieve can play at the very high­est level. The big­gest stage comes with pres­sures and a huge chal­lenge. “But if they play with the ball like they did against Ger­many, they will en­joy it.

“What I like is one mo­ment we are talk­ing about Harry Kane or Dele Alli, then there is Mar­cus Rash­ford and now Ruben. We are not just hang­ing our hat on one player.” Eng­land now face an­other test against in­ter­na­tional foot­ball’s most suc­cess­ful coun­try, Brazil, at Wem­b­ley on Tues­day.

And South­gate warned: “The Ger­many game will have taken a lot out of them, so Tues­day will be a much harder test.

“We’ll have to think about who is ready. But what­ever hap­pens these two games will have been a bril­liant ex­pe­ri­ence for us.” LEG­END An­drea Pirlo has joined the crit­ics in slam­ming Italy af­ter their de­feat by Swe­den on Fri­day.

The 1-0 loss left the four-time cham­pi­ons on the brink of miss­ing out on the World Cup fi­nals for the first time in 60 years.

The Az­zurri’s last fail­ure to qual­ify for the fi­nals was in

1958 – when the tour­na­ment was held in Swe­den.

And they will have to win by two clear goals in the re­turn leg to­mor­row in Mi­lan’s San Siro Sta­dium, to avoid what head of the Ital­ian Fed­er­a­tion Carlo Tavec­chio has dubbed the ‘Apoca­lypse’.

But their tooth­less per­for­mance in Stockholm on Fri­day – the lat­est in a se­ries of lack­lus­tre dis­plays by Gian Piero Ven­tura’s side – has done noth­ing to re­as­sure their sup­port­ers that they are up to the task.

Ital­ian news­pa­per La Gazzetta dello Sport de­scribed their dis­play in Swe­den as, ‘poor and con­fused’.

And Tut­tosport said, ‘enough of ex­cuses, now we have to avoid an his­toric em­bar­rass­ment’.

Pirlo, 38, added: “Italy looked like a scared team that was just play­ing for a nil-nil draw. In Europe, that is not enough.”

The for­mer Mi­lan and Ju­ven­tus ace, who con­firmed his re­tire­ment on Mon­day, also had lit­tle sym­pa­thy for Ven­tura’s com­plaints about the ref­eree.

Pirlo – capped 116 times for his coun­try – said: “It’s a red her­ring. Play­ing in Europe is not like in Italy, where you get a free-kick for even the slight­est con­tact.

“In these matches you need to be above all that and give

100 per cent.

“In these matches you see the real play­ers. It will be tough for Ven­tura to find the right words to say to the group.

“There will be two very in­tense days, full of pres­sure and the coach must have in mind the line-up that he is go­ing to field.”

Pirlo added it was no good hop­ing that home ad­van­tage would help sway the tie Italy’s way.

“The San Siro will make its pres­ence felt but I’ve never seen a goal scored from the stands,” he said.

X-Rays showed Leonardo Bonucci frac­tured his nose in Fri­day’s first leg af­ter a clash with Ola Toivo­nen but he is likely to still play to­mor­row, even if it means wear­ing a mask to pro­tect his face.

Italy (0) v Swe­den (1) To­mor­row, 7.45pm,

Sky Sports Main Event

HIT­TING OUT: An­drea Pirlo

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