Talking points – Scolari, Italy and that Austrian penalty. What do you think?

We all like a bit of a discussion and debate at the start of the week so I thought I’d take a look at some the talking points from the last week, say what I think about them and ask you to get involved.

I’ll take three things of note from the last seven days and see if we can agree on any of them! I bet we can’t!

Talking point 1
Well, after all the names being linked with the Chelsea job we finally found at that big Phil Scolari is taking over at the end of the Euros.

It won’t be Mourinho, Ancelotti, Mancini, Hughes, Hiddink, Rijkaard or any of the other forty or fifty names that the press had told us were almost certainly going to get the job, but it will be the Brazilian legend who has achieved so much in South America and internationally, but has never managed a club side in Europe.

Will he be a success? On the plus side, he has pretty much been successful wherever he has been, the players who play for him are loyal to him and it is likely that Deco and maybe others will go with him to Stamford Bridge. On the minus side, he doesn’t know Premier League or Champions League football and speaks little English.

Do we think that his advice to Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Manchester United was ‘out of order’ in the light of the fact that he probably knew he was going to take over at their main rivals when he said it?

The problem for Scolari is that he will only be judged a success if he wins either or both of the big tournaments in which Chelsea were runners-up this season. On that basis, and the fact that Scolari will probably struggle with the tabloid press intrusion in England I believe that Scolari won’t achieve what he needs to.

What do you think?

Talking point 2
I am loathe to get involved in the debate on that Austrian penalty, as feelings have run very high since the incident. I totally and utterly condemn the disgraceful death threats and images circulating around the internet and have no desire to stir up any more trouble around what has happened.

I am looking at this purely from a football point of view and not commenting on the conspiracy theories. The question to look at is, was it a foul? I think we would all answer that question with a word somewhere between possibly and definitely.

Would it have been a free-kick in any other part of the pitch? Again, somewhere between possibly and definitely.

Should it have been awarded as a penalty? That is where the answers will vary from absolutely definitely not to totally right decision.

In such a simple game with so few rules, how can we have an incident that splits followers of football so divisively? It would seem pretty simple really. If it was a foul, it was a penalty. The problem is that we have allowed players to get away with that sort of marking at corners and free-kicks for so long that to suddenly award one at that stage of such a crucial game was bound to cause controversy.

My view is that it was a foul, but the award of the penalty was extremely harsh in the circumstances. If penalties are going to be given for such incidents then the game must change totally and not just for the odd incident here and there.

What do you think? No ridiculous personal criticism of the ref please, just honest football opinions.

Talking point 3
Like Milan before them, have the current Italian team become too old and too predictable to reach their previous heights? The likes of Zambrotta, Guttuso, Pirlo, Del Pierro, Camoranesi, Ambrosini and Buffon have all been there and done it. In their two games so far in the Euros they have looked somewhat devoid of ideas and a shadow of their former selves.

Even Toni up front does not look like much of a threat despite his fine scoring record and glowing reputation.

Buffon made a fine save from the Mutu penalty but in the first game against the Dutch he looked hesitant and indecisive. Zambrotta gave away a goal with a careless back header, Pirlo has failed to influence games and the others have been totally anonymous.

Is this a temporary blip? Will they beat France, qualify and go on to do well in the tournament? Is Donadoni the right man to get the best out of the team? Is this old Italian team finished as a major world force?

My opinion is that Italy need a total change of manager and playing staff. Don’t get me wrong, I’d swap most of England’s players for Italy’s, but I think they need a major change if they are to maintain their position as one of the top teams.

What do you think?

Graham Fisher writes for Soccerlens and Soccer News.

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