Despite being a tactical system that has not been used in decades, the misconceptions around catenaccio keep creating a debate that will probably never stop being discussed in the world of soccer. Of course, this topic is mostly used to minimize the merits that Italian soccer has had over the course of its history thanks to their perfect understanding of defensive roles.
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca, legendary manager Marcello Lippi has once again tried to explain to the Spanish public opinion that they’ve had it completely wrong when it comes to understanding catenaccio. For them, in fact, it appears that being able to defend well has to be related the old system, no matter what.
The 2006 World Cup-winning coach effectively showed that these two points are almost never related to each other. As an example, he referred to the memorable semifinal against Germany of that year, when the team achieved the win with an extremely offensive approach by lining up four strikers in extra time.
Essentially, the reason for his approach was motivated by the fact that Italy was perhaps having one of the greatest performances in soccer history in the defensive line, led by the magnificent Gianluigi Buffon and the captain Fabio Cannavaro.
In this case, the Azzurri proved once again that they are by far the world’s best interpreters of defensive roles, despite not always playing with a defensive approach. This is a concept that, apparently, other nations seem incapable not only of doing, but also understanding.