Grande Inter spirits rekindled in 2010

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FC Internazionale Milano, one of the most dominant forces in Europe for over a century has won the European Cup twice in 1964 and 1965 and the UEFA Champions League (earlier known as European Cup) in 2010. Inter Milan also became the first and the only Italian club to win the treble, when they won the Serie A, the Italian cup and the Champions League .

On analysing the European Cup winning team of 1964, the team played with a primarily defensive motive. All the important members were available and there was no injury concern.

*Line up:- Inter Milan vs Real Madrid (1964 European Cup final)*

Sarti; Picchi, Burgnich, Guameri, Facchetti; Jair Da Costa, Mazzola, Tagnin, Luis Suarez, Corso; Milani
Manager : Helenio Herrera

The general ideology of the team was to build up attacks starting from Picchi, the captain of the team, who played as a Libero. As the game proceeded, the backline converted to a 4 man defense with Picchi moving in as a ball playing defender from the role of Libero. Jair and Corso moved to the flanks to play as inside forwards, Luis Suarez and Tagnin playing in a double pivot with Mazzola playing as trequartista and Milani as a Complete forward (4-3-3). This change gave the team more flexibility as they kept moving the ball into the Real Madrid area with pinpoint passes from Suarez, Picchi and Tagnin. Before the end of first half, Mazzola found the back of the net with a 25 yard strike assisted by Facchetti who managed to make an overlapping run to pressurize the defense . Very early in the second half, Milani doubled the lead with a shot from outside the box. Felo pulled one back for Real Madrid. Inter Milan weren’t willing to give up, Mazzola picked up the ball because of a mistake from Santamaria, sealing the game 3-1 to lift the European Cup.


Francisco Gento and Armando Picchi during the toss


Inter Milan played a proper catenaccio with a locked box defensive tactic to completely isolate Puskas and Di Stefano from the rest of the team cutting out all the ball supply. Tagnin played a vital role marking Di Stefano and kept him quiet throughout the match.

The team won this coveted trophy again in 2010 when Javier Zanetti led Inter Milan to win the Champions League under Jose Mourinho who once again preferred a defensive style of playing. On analysing this team, I observed that the team played with a defensive mentality and preferred to counter attack at regular intervals.


The Inter squad of 1964 with the trophy


All important players were available and there weren’t too many injuries.

*Line up:- Inter Milan vs Bayern Munich(2010 UEFA Champions League Final)*

Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Walter Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Sneijder; Eto’o, Milito Pandev

Manager : Jose Mourinho
The general ideology of the team was to play counter attacking football. Lucio played as a ball playing defender with Zanetti and Cambiasso forming the double pivot in the midfield with Sneijder playing as a False 10(Modern Version of Trequartista) and Pandev and Eto’o in the flanks as inside forwards, Milito spearheading the attack as complete forward.

This match saw Bayern having control over the possession. Bayern dominated early on with van Bommel and Schweinsteiger spraying in balls to Muller and Robben. Inter Milan managed to take the lead with a direct flick from Cesar which reached Sneijder who laid the ball down for goalscorer Milito to score the first goal of the final. Zanetti moved back to a left back role in the second half with Stankovic coming on for Chivu. Stankovic and Cambiasso became the double Pivot in the second half. Bayern kept pressurizing the defense with constant threats from Robben, Klose and Muller. But it was Milito again, who collected the ball from Eto’o to beat van Buyten and managed to score again.


Milito after scoring one of the two goals


Inter went back to a highly defensive system after scoring the second goal. Materrazi and Muntari came on with with the task to stabilize the defense and lift the Champions League trophy at the end of the day.

This team again used a lock box defensive tactic to isolate Muller and Olic from the rest of the team to prevent them from scoring. Zanetti in the first half and Stankovic in the second half played a vital role to keep Muller silent the entire game to reduce Bayern’s creativity, isolating the striker from rest of the team, which proved successful yet again for Inter Milan.


Captain Zanetti with the UCL Trophy


On the comparing the Cup winning teams of 1964 and 2010, both the teams played a similar style of football isolating the striker and reducing the effectiveness of the opposition’s most creative player. Di Stefano in 1964 and Thomas Muller in 2010. Sarti made extreme reflex saves in 1964 which was again seen in Julio Cesar. Zanetti fulfilling the role of Tagnin in the first half and Facchetti in the second half . Sneijder played the role that Mazzola so effectively did in 1964, unfortunately Sneijder couldn’t find the net but was very creative. Eto’o and Pandev filled in the shoes of Jair da Costa and Corso.

Both teams were identical in the gameplay with very similar tactics from both the master-mind managers (Herrera and Mourinho ). Thus sealing a remarkable 3rd European Cup/Champions League trophy for the club.

Was this just coincidence, or did Mourinho knowingly modelled his team on the legendary Herrera?