Brazil’s World Cup shoot-out defeat by Croatia brought back memories of Italy’s loss to the Selecao on penalties in the 1994 final for former Azzurri boss Arrigo Sacchi.
The five-time champions crashed out in the quarter-finals, as the 2018 finalists held their nerve from 12 yards to prevail 4-2 following a 1-1 draw at Education City Stadium.
Sacchi oversaw Italy’s run to the 1994 showpiece at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where Brazil denied them glory on penalties with Franco Baresi and Roberto Baggio notably shooting over the crossbar.
The 76-year-old Sacchi empathises with Tite’s side, but also saluted the desire demonstrated by Croatia.
“The Croatians never gave up and hid the ball from the Brazilians,” he wrote in his La Gazzetta Dello Sport column. “They were more determined than the Brazilians, who will now understand how much it hurts to lose on penalties.
“Unfortunately, I know something about it and I confess that, by watching the match on TV, I thought about the emotions and feelings of Pasadena in 1994.”
Sacchi also offered his thoughts on Argentina’s victory over the Netherlands, criticising La Albiceleste’s approach after surrendering a 2-0 lead before recovering to prevail on penalties.
“I didn’t see much quality in the first half – only when [Lionel] Messi had the ball, the lights turned on,” he continued.
“Nobody wanted to take risks with five defenders for Argentina and five for the Netherlands. Van Gaal’s teams are usually attacking-minded, but the Dutch were more defensive in this World Cup.
“When Argentina went 2-0 up, Van Gaal threw in his tall strikers, adding centimetres and battling physically. A right move, but Argentina made an unforgivable error. They should not have allowed the Dutch to go close to the goal, and keep a high line.”
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