June 13, - Italy coach Antonio Conte praised his injury-hit team for a smooth shift to an adventurous 4-3-3 formation in Friday's 1-1 draw at Croatia in their Euro 2016 Group H qualifier.
With several key players out injured, Conte had to revert from a preferred 3-5-2 and the Italians held the upper hand for long spells in the match played behind closed doors in Split.
"The 4-3-3 allows us to exploit space out wide with the best wingers that the Serie A currently has to offer," the 45-year old coach told the Italian football federation website (www.figc.it).
"We had a well defined style of play and although we can still revert to the old formation, I think this one will be a success in the future."
Antonio Candreva, who scored Italy's equaliser with a dinked penalty, gave his markers a roasting on the right flank all evening and Stephan El Shaarawy also had a fine game on the left behind lone striker Graziano Pelle.
Shaarawy had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside seconds before Mario Mandzukic's opener for Croatia and Conte blasted English referee Martin Atkinson for allowing the home side to restart play with the visitors celebrating in vain.
"We were a little bit naive but we were sure that our disallowed goal was good and as a matter of fact it was good," he said.
"So when Croatia took the lead immediately after it was a big shock and the referee should not have allowed them to restart play while we were still celebrating."
With Mandzukic missing an early penalty and giving away the spot-kick to Italy, Croatia had little to cheer about after the game as it also produced a bizarre racism scandal.