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S.S. Lazio - I Biancocelesti

Started on 14 June 2014 by Coxy
Latest Reply on 19 August 2014 by Coxy
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Great goalscoring from Giovinco!! Now try to catch back up to the top of the table ;)
Not too far off from 2nd place and looking solid in the UEFA. Keep up the good form and make Juve fear!
A very good month, Schalke defeat sin! Good luck, and I hope to win at least one trophy this season!
Coxy's avatar Group Coxy
9 yearsEdited

Matt Cox Takes Italy U21 Role

Cox introduces himself to the squad for the first time.

Lazio's Matt Cox has accepted an offer from Italy manager Antonio Conte to become manager of the Under 21 national team.

Cox has accepted the position on a 10 month deal and will leave the team after their U21 European Football Championship campaign next Summer. The Englishman will also carry the role alongside his club duties with the Biancocelesti. Cox was announced by the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) today at their headquarters in Rome. The job became available following previous head coach Luigi Di Biagio's decision to accept a job offer to become manager of Serie C side Ascoli.

The Italian U21 team competes in the UEFA European Under 21 Football Championship, held every two years. Italy is the most successful nation in the history of the competition, with five Championships won (1992, 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2004) since the competitions creation in 1978.

From 1990 to 2004 the team established near-total dominance of European Under 21 football, winning five of the seven tournaments. A dominance that Englishman Cox vows to bring back: "It was a real honour to have been approached by Antonio for this role. I am privileged to be part of the international set-up and my aim is to bring through and nurture the young talent that this country possesses, so that Italy can once again be the top international team."

Cox is the first ever non-Italian to take up the role but insists that has no bearing on the situation at hand: "I know that Italy have always preferred their managers and head coaches to be Italian. It is national pride and making sure that their countrymen get a chance, I understand that. But in my time here in Italy I have felt truly accepted by the people and their culture. I have a proven record here in Serie A and will do my best to transfer my success and winning mentality for this team too."

The general response to the appointment from the Italian public has been positive, Cox is known for preferring national based talent rather than overseas players in his teams and this is proven by looking at the Lazio team that won the 2012 Coppa Italia Final vs Roma whilst under Vladimir Petkovic. Lazio fielded 4 Italians that day (Candreva, Ledesma, Biava and Marchetti), whilst Cox's 2013 Coppa Italia winning team fielded 8 Italian-born players. (Candreva, Marchetti, Abate, Bonera, Bellusci, Motta, Mauri and Darmian).

The new manager will be quickly integrated as the team are currently on international duty; meaning Cox will be unable to pick his own 23 man team until the next international break. Following the team's 4-0 victory over Croatia U21 yesterday, previous manager Luigi Di Biagio announced that he would be leaving the international team set-up to manager his former playing club Ascoli. Following the announcement the FIGC confirmed that they would move quickly to appoint a successor as the team will play Russia U21 in an international friendly next week.

Cox Appoints Italy U21 Captain And Staff

Lorenzo Criestig has made 13 appearances for the U21 national side.

Italy U21 manager Matt Cox has appointed Parma's Lorenzo Criestig as captain of the Azzurri youth side.

The 21 year old midfield general has made 11 appearances for Parma his season following an impressive loan spell at Serie B Crotone last year. Former captain Matteo Bianchetti has been ruled out for 4 months with an knee injury and Cox believes it was time for a change: After meeting the players and running training over the last three days I know who my captain is. Lorenzo has all the qualities of an ambitious and passionate leader. I know the situation regarding Matteo is unfortunate and I wish him well in his recovery." Cox has also confirmed that Juventus-owned Sassuolo attacker Domenico Berardi will be his vice captain, with Udinese goalkeeper Simone Scuffet taking up a 3rd captain role.
Former Italy favourite Alessandro Nesta joins Cox's coaching team.

Cox has brought in his own staff to aid him in his new job with many of his Lazio colleagues joining him in the national set-up. Lazio under 19's manager has left his position and accepted a full-time role as Italy U21 assistant manager. Meanwhile Lazio coach Gian Nicola Bisciotti has joined the U21s as coach; joined by former Lazio and Italy favourite Alessandro Nesta. Cox knows Nesta from their time in Montreal together. Finally Lazio U19 goalkeeper coach Beniamino Abate joins Cox's Italy coaching staff as goalkeeping coach.

Cox begins his tenure with a friendly against Russia U21's tomorrow night at the Gastone Brilli Peri, Montevarchi.
Good luck at the National Italian U21! Lorenzo Criestig is a good player! Good luck, and I hope to win a trophy!

Cox's Italy Put Seven Past Russia U21's

Italy U21's Samuele Longo continued his breakout season with a goal.

Italy U21 7 Russia U21 1
Caprari (3)
Berardi (25)
Longo (45)
Kurbanov (45+2)
Valzania (47, 67)
Petagna (48)
Improta (81)

Cox experimented heavily in his first game in charge of Italy but still pulled off an astounding result against Russia.

Italy U21 Starting XI (5-2-3): Scuffet, Murru, Prestia, Sampirisi, Romagnoli, Fiamozzi, Cristante, Crisetig (C), Caprari, Berardi, Longo.
Russia U21 Starting XI (4-3-3): Gudiev (C), Sotnikov, Tskhovrebov, Lystsov, Karavaev, Netfullin, Guliev, Osipov, Buranov, Solovjov, Kurbanov.

Matt Cox's first game in charge of the Italian U21 team ended in an emphatic victory over Russia, despite the English manager using the game to heavily experiment with his starting line up. Cox was unable to pick his own 23 man squad due to taking over mid-way through the international break, but used the friendly game as an opportunity to evaluate the players that previous manager Luigi Di Biagio picked.

Cagliari winger Gianluca Caprari opened the scoring 3 minutes into the game with a thumping strike from 12 yards out. Italy took to Cox's famous 5-2-3 tactic well and settled into the game; controlling proceedings all over the park. Juventus/Sassuolo owned vice-captain Domenico Berardi doubled the score with a 20 yard strike from the right wing.

Inter Milan striker Samuele Longo who is on loan in Belgium with Standard Liege has hit 10 goals in 11 games so far this season and carried his good form into international duty as he scored a tap in from a rebound as Russia goalkeeper Vitaly Gudiev could only parry Bryan Cristante's long range shot. 16 year old CSKA Moscow striker Artem Kurbanov scored with a cool finish when one-on-one with Scuffet just before half time but it was merely a consolation for the Russian team.

Cox made 11 changes at the break, fielding a brand new team for the second half. The new players carried on where the previous 11 left off as they hit another 4 goals past a powerless Russian team. AC Milan's 18 year old Luca Valzania scored two minutes into the half and Rossoneri teammate Andrea Petagna added another 42 seconds later.

Russia had nothing in the locker and failed to register a shot on substitute goalkeeper Francesco Bardi in the second half, and Valzania added his second of the day on 67 minutes. Cox shuffled the team again with 20 minutes remaining meaning all 23 of his squad got some playing time in Montevarchi. Riccardo Improta of Chievo hammered the final blow with the seventh goal on 81 minutes with a composed finish as he rounded the goalkeeper and rolled the ball into an empty net.

Cox was extremely proud of the performance and said that he was impressed with how quickly his team has adapted to his tactics: "The lads were brilliant tonight. They really took the work we did in training on board and that was evident tonight, we were tight and we were ruthless. It was a shame to concede but it was a well worked goal by the Russian striker. They can return to their clubs knowing every one of them has given me something to think about when I come to pick my next squad."

Italy U21 have no confirmed friendly games in the near future but will surely look to schedule some soon before the information about next year's European U21 Football Championship is released.
Brilliant first result with the U21's, an interesting job to take but I'm sure you'll do well! Also, glad to see Crisetig as captain, love that guy!! :D
7 goals! Jeeeezo! Well done mate. Italy have a bright future if that's anything to judge it by.
7Up XD
Bebero: Thanks Bebs! Yeah its a great team so hopefully we can win the U21 Euros!
Neal: I thought it'd be something different. Im basically grooming players to join me in the future ;)
Squirms: Tell me about it, my second 7-1 this season though so it's probably just the manager :P
Pauker: :D
Coxy's avatar Group Coxy
9 yearsEdited

Lazio Win Five Straight Without Conceding

Federico Marchetti made key saves as Lazio record five clean sheets in six games through November.

November Results

LAZIO 2-0 CHIEVO (Serie A)
Motta (54)
Candreva (73, pen)

FC Basel 0-1 LAZIO (UEFA Champions League)
Candreva (51, pen)

Astori (31)
Ince (75)
Klose (80)

LAZIO 1-0 TORINO (Serie A)
Bellusci (24)

Ince (90+4)

Denis (35)
Abate (74)

A solid month put us back into contention to defend our Serie A title. We now lie 4 points behind AC Milan, and are also 3 points behind 2nd placed Juventus. We have also guaranteed qualification to the knockout round of the Champions League with one game in hand remaining against Schalke. The game will most likely determine who finishes top of the group and avoid the bigger European teams.

Our successful month was based on defensive solidity. We only conceded 1 goal in 6 games which is a great achievement that in turn keeps us in touch with the top two teams, and slowly separates us and 4th placed Sampdoria from the rest of the pack.

Our Serie A performances this month have been excellent. We dominated every game we played and managed to hammer Inter Milan away from home. The Chievo, Basel and Torino results were close but did not reflect our dominance in the fixtures. The UCL match against OL in France was a heart in mouth occasion as we needed only a point to qualify for the next stage of the competition. Both sides had clear chances and in the 94th minute when it looked like we would escape France with a point; Tom Ince charged through on goal and thumped a finish into the top corner to give us a smash-and-grab victory which meant that we would be top of the group heading into the final game.

The loss to Atalanta was very disappointing but they have had a strong season so far. We were unable to turn our dominance into goals and were hit on the counter attack for their goal against the run of play. We have now lost 3 games this season in Serie A after 14 matches, one more than we did all season last year. My concern of a regular goalscorer has been eased by the return to striking form of Antonio Candreva. The goals have been widely spread between the players so far this season (which I do not have a problem with) but we havent't been scoring as regularly as we did in the previous campaign. Hopefully Giovinco and Candreva can now push on and continue their current form.

Player Of The Month

6 games, 5 clean sheets: Davide Astori

An honourable mention goes to my entire backline who have all had a key part to play on our phenomenal defending this month. However Davide Astori has been a key catalyst for our brilliant form this month and even chipped in with a goal.

UEFA Champions League

Serie A

We now lie 3rd in the league with 31 points from 14 games and have navigated our way into the knockout stage of the Champions League, making it Lazio's second best ever UCL performance. We have improved on a good month last month and have to keep up the pressure on the top two teams. We play three Serie A games next month and I feel we can definitely pick up the 9 points on offer. Next month's Serie A fixtures are: Bologna (H), Sampdoria (A) and Spezia (H).

We face Schalke at the Olimpico in a battle to finish top of the group. The usual giants are finishing top of their UCL groups and it could be vital to our European campaign that we finish 1st.
Great month, especially from Candreva with the goals and your back line for conceding only 1 goal all month! That late goal from Ince must've been brilliant :D
Sweaty Marchetti.

Despite some great wins, I'd worry about all the 1-0 matches, they can easily go either way. But 3 points is what matters.
Neal: It's good to see a glimpse of last season's Candreva. Hopefully we can carry it on and take 1st place, and I was buzzing when Ince bagged!
Raheeminho: Wow he is really dripping! :O Yeah it wasn't that way last season. We always had Candreva or Klose to smash a couple in but this year Klose looks old and exhausted and Candreva is only showing glimpses of last year's form!

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