Catenaccio @ Parking the Bus

To winning a football game a team must score more goal than another team. Some will like to play beautiful and win the game like the Brazilian Team in the 1960’s and the Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team in 2009-2012. This team nature is to score as much as possible whether they are leading or not. This is what we can called as neutral football. But they are another way of winning is by stopping the other team from creating a scoring chances after leading the game and defending deep and hit the opponent with a devastating counter attack. This what been called as the Catennaccio and is made famous by the Italian Club and National Team with great success in the 1960’s.The Italian National Team had won their first major tournament after World War 2 and after 1938 World Cup by winning the 1968 European Cup. The club team Internazionale or InterMilan had won the European Cup in 1964 and 1965 and AC Milan had also won the European Cup in 1963 and 1969.

Even though the Catennaccio was made famous with a great success by the Italian, an Austrian had influenced this style of play. The Austrian name is Karl Rappan whom as coach of Switzerland in 1930’s and 1940’s introduced the sweeper system. This sweeper will be positioned just ahead of the goalkeeper to pick up any loose ball and to protect the lead. With a four fixed defender include the sweeper and a strict man to man marking, an offense minded attacking player in the middle with two midfield wings. This sweeper was the basis for Catennaccio style of play. Then Nereo Rocco from Padavo pioneered the Catennaccio in Italy with the formation 1 -3 – 3 – 3 also with the sweeper. He had managed the Triestina team to a highest ever second place finish in 1947. Later he managed the Padova team to a third team finish team in 1957-58 season. After Padova,Nereo Rocco moved to AC Milan and make them a European Champion for the first time in their history in 1963 and started a 3 season of mini dominance for the Italian club team. By the way this is the Italian Club Team first win in the European Cup.

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Karl Rappan Catenaccio

 

The next Italian club team that will won the European Cup is InterMilan with the team that will be famously known as La Grande Inter or The Great Inter. This team were managed by Helenio Herrera whom will be associated with the Catenaccio style of play forever. He will play Picchi as sweeper and Fachetti as the attacking full back, Luis Suarez as the attacking midfielder and with Sandro Mazzola in the midfield this team dominated Serie A,Europe and the World in the space of 2 years. His team will user their attacking talent to score the goal and proceed to defend their lead. The European Cup win in 1964 against a Real Madrid full of attacking talent was a prime example. The score 3 -1 with the goal scored by a mix of defence and counter attack football against the legendary Real Madrid with Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas in the line-up shocked the European football at that time. Real Madrid only get a late consolation goal in the last minute after the game had been full buried. The next win in 1965 against Benfica with famous Eusebio in the team. The stopped Benfica from scoring and won the game 1-0. They also won the InterContinental Cup by beating Independiate twice an Argentinian club team in 1964 and 1965 final.

After the great success the Catenaccio style came to a first major blow in 1967 final against the Celtics team. It exposed the great weakness Catenaccio that is it can’t withstand against a determined offense minded team. Celtic by having more than 30 shots on goals and winning the game 2-1 after Sandro Mazzola have scored in 8th minute penalty. Then another blow came in the form of Total Football as the great Ajax Amsterdam team of Rinus Michels and with Johan Cyruff in the team beating 2 Italian team the Inter Milan and Juventus were beaten in 1972 and 1973 European Cup final and the Dutch newspaper had printed “The Death of Catenaccio”.

After the great success the Catenaccio style came to a first major blow in 1967 final against the Celtics team. It exposed the great weakness Catenaccio that is it can’t withstand against a determined offense minded team. Celtic by having more than 30 shots on goals and winning the game 2-1 after Sandro Mazzola have scored in 8th minute penalty. Then another blow came in the form of Total Football as the great Ajax Amsterdam team of Rinus Michels and with Johan Cyruff in the team beating 2 Italian team the Inter Milan and Juventus were beaten in 1972 and 1973 European Cup final and the Dutch newspaper had printed “The Death of Catenaccio”.
Another blow came for the Catenaccio in the Italy itself and changed the Italian way of playing football. Arrigo Sacchi AC Milan in late 1980’s emphasis on attacking, pressing , outrageous offside trap and flexible system led first to the death of sweeper in the Italian football. Next it also changed the mentality of the Italian Football that defending the lead and instead attacking to get more goals. The way AC Milan trashed Steaua Bucharest in 1988 European Cup final as they had attacked the Romanian from the staring from the first minute untill the end of the game and won the game 4 – 0 and winning again on the following season in 1989 by beating Benfica and become the last team to retain the title. A feat that unable to be emulated by any club team after that.

Catennaccio does not gone completely as still they are some team that using them. For example, George Graham Arsenal team prefer to win the game 1-0 until Arsene Wenger had totally changed their style in 1997-1998 season and make Arsenal as one the great attacking team in the Premier League. With the arrival of Jose Mourinho the term Catennaccio is quickly replaced by “parking the bus” as made famous by him in the post-match interview after his Chelsea team had been held to a draw by the Tottenham Hotspur team in 2004-2005 season.
With the emerges of Guardiola’s Barcelona with a possession based games and offense minded style of play many team had started using the Catennaccio style or parking the bus style to beat them. A great example was Jose Mourinho that did it in 2009-2010 season UEFA Champion League with his Inter Milan team that had knocked out Barcelona in semi-final stages. In the first leg they had won the game 3-1 and in the second led with the dismissal of Tiago Jose Mourinho had revert Catennaccio style to defend the first leg led. He still lost 1- 0 but enough for Inter Milan to go through to the final and winning the UEFA Champion League on that season after nearly 40 years.

Another blow came for the Catenaccio in the Italy itself and changed the Italian way of playing football. Arrigo Sacchi AC Milan in late 1980’s emphasis on attacking, pressing , outrageous offside trap and flexible system led first to the death of sweeper in the Italian football. Next it also changed the mentality of the Italian Football that defending the lead and instead attacking to get more goals. The way AC Milan trashed Steaua Bucharest in 1988 European Cup final as they had attacked the Romanian from the staring from the first minute untill the end of the game and won the game 4 – 0 and winning again on the following season in 1989 by beating Benfica and become the last team to retain the title. A feat that unable to be emulated by any club team after that.

 

Catennaccio does not gone completely as still they are some team that using them. For example, George Graham Arsenal team prefer to win the game 1-0 until Arsene Wenger had totally changed their style in 1997-1998 season and make Arsenal as one the great attacking team in the Premier League. With the arrival of Jose Mourinho the term Catennaccio is quickly replaced by “parking the bus” as made famous by him in the post-match interview after his Chelsea team had been held to a draw by the Tottenham Hotspur team in 2004-2005 season.

 

With the emerges of Guardiola’s Barcelona with a possession based games and offense minded style of play many team had started using the Catennaccio style or parking the bus style to beat them. A great example was Jose Mourinho that did it in 2009-2010 season UEFA Champion League with his Inter Milan team that had knocked out Barcelona in semi-final stages. In the first leg they had won the game 3-1 and in the second led with the dismissal of Tiago Jose Mourinho had revert Catennaccio style to defend the first leg led. He still lost 1- 0 but enough for Inter Milan to go through to the final and winning the UEFA Champion League on that season after nearly 40 years.

 

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Jose Mourinho coined and made famous the term Parking the Bus for the Catennacio style of play

Chelsea had done it in 2012 UEFA Champion League also against Barcelona. In the first leg they win 1-0 after conceding the possession to Barcelona and hit them with the counter attack, the second leg Barcelona had scored 2 goal and make the aggregate score 2-1 until Ramirez had scored the crucial away goal in the late first half that lead Barcelona to score again to avoid to be knocked out in the away goal rule which had happen eventually. Chelsea doing the something again in the final against Bayern Munich where they had defended deep and later winning the penalty shootout against them in German.

 

The Catennaccio will be used by team when they need to protect the lead and defending an aggregate lead in the two legged tie. For a team to be successful in this way they must have a good defender whom able to anticipate and an also a good attacking player. They also must fast and passing the ball as quick as possible for the lightning transition from defending to attacking and also to counter attack.

 

The Catennaccio style although was not implement as successful in the early 60’s be expected for some team to use when the situation need or arises. Until then the name of Helenio Herrera will be forever be linked to this style of player. For some football lover the Catennaccio can be called as the anti-football and but for the fans, the manager and the team if is make the team to be successful then they will not hesitate to using this style of play.

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