(Original post by Alex Doran)
Personally I don't think we should bother about Pirlo as much as we do, I think he is massively overrated. Last time (in 2012) the game was 0-0 and no-one mentioned Pirlo in the full time analysis but he scored the panenka penalty and everyone went mad
From 60mins onwards Pirlo was clearly MOTM. That's nonsense what you're putting here.
If England would have won on penalties then I don't think our obsession with Pirlo would have happened. He is a brilliant passer, I am not denying that but Gerrard isn't bad either. Also Italy have absolutely no width so there is only limited space he can pass into.
Italy do not always play 4-4-2 diamond, they play 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 which are formations that provide more width.
Gerrard's passing is inferior to Pirlo's, Gerrard is similar to Alonso passing wise. In terms of long range passing there is nobody better than those two, but Pirlo can dictate a game with short and long passing, Gerrard likes to move the ball as quickly as possible, Pirlo is capable of this but when he needs to shut a game down with slow short passing he can do that as well, he's like a hybrid of Alonso and Xavi, that's not to say he's better than them, but that is his game.
We do not need to stop the supply as if it isn't Pirlo, it is someone else. We need to stop the receivers which should be easy enough given they are all down the middle.
But they don't always play down the middle, they play other formations which can provide width. It's not so easy to stop receivers when your midfield duo is Henderson and Gerrard, considering the way Liverpool ship goals game after game, I think it's not really a good idea having to rely on those two stopping receivers.
I do think we should attempt to close him down but being honest, he isn't going to decide the game. Italy have other players and England have some decent attackers to. He is good but he doesn't decide the result.
The good news is that defensively, England are very weak at the full backs (especially Johnson) and Italy never play out wide so Johnson and Baines can spend time bombing forwards which is when they are at their best. Gerrard and Henderson can work hard defending and spraying the ball out wide and I would play a third CM in Wilshere to keep a lid on where they are most dangerous (the middle.) If we play the diamond like Rodgers did, we basically have the same players with Gerrard at the base, Sterling at the tip and Henderson on one side. Wilshere is more than good enough to fill in for Allen compared to Liverpool so it will be a strong midfield.
I'd play a 4-3-3 but I'd attempt to close Pirlo down, Either by getting the striker to drop deep, or by getting both wingers to tuck in, this then gives him no space to pass to.
There's the final option of pushing up and playing a 4-5-1.