Archive for the 'diving' category

L’estate del 2006: Italia – Australia

December 30, 2007 10:16 pm

(The summer of 2006: Italy – Australia)

Since everyone (except Gattuso) has been enjoying some between-holiday relaxation this weekend, there isn’t much to report in terms of news or noteworthy rumors.  Subsequently, for today’s post, I’m going to take a step back and say some things that I’ve wanted to say for quite some time.  Hopefully, I won’t make any enemies in the process.  Here goes:

The Azzurri faithful remember the summer of 2006 fondly, and for good reason.

By way of an undeniable team effort, the members of the Nazionale overcame not only fierce competition in Germany, but also a scandal on their homefront, an attempted suicide by a former teammate, and nagging slander from the host nation’s media.  Nonetheless, despite these obstacles, the Azzurri lifted calcio’s/soccer’s/football’s most highly coveted trophy, and thereby proved their merit to the world.

That is… they proved their merit to much – but not all – of the world.  See… it seems that in many cases, when we – the tifosi – the fans – happily reminisce about the accomplishments of our Azzurri, someone – a friend, a co-worker, a commentator, a journalist, a coach – someone feels the need to rob us of our joy by proclaiming that Italy “did not deserve to win” the World Cup.

From the point of view of the Azzurri tifosi, few comments are more annoying, more insulting, or more blatantly erroneous. Of course Italy deserved to win, we explain patiently.  Did they not see the inspired match against Ukraine?  How about the heroic effort against Germany?  Did they not see the pressure that Italy placed upon the French?

At this point, the nay-sayers seem to enjoy bringing up their counterpoint of choice – which they feel is clear evidence that the Azzurri got through not by merit, but by luck.  What do they bring up?  Of course, they bring up the match against Australia, and the now-famous penalty.

If the Azzurri followers have heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times: Australia were robbed. Italy were lucky. Grosso took a dive. Australia would’ve won.

Well, in response, here’s what I say: Australia weren’t robbed, Italy were not lucky, Grosso fell over an exceedingly stupid Lucas Neill, and unless you have a DeLorean equipped with a Flux Capacitor, you can’t possibly know who would’ve won.

So there.

Don’t worry, I will substantiate those claims in this post, but first, it’s probably a good idea to actually watch the match highlights.  It was, after all, a year and a half ago, and some could probably use a refresher course.  Let’s take a look:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

First off, let me say that I admire Australia’s team, Viduka and Bresciano in particular.  Both played especially hard, although the entire squad really exerted themselves right up until the end of the match.  That’s actually what I like most about the Socceroos; they’re forever working, and (when they’re not playing Italy) I enjoy watching them.

(Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business.)

Some claim that Australia deserved to win on June 26, 2006, and others will even contend that Australia were the better squad.  To those who make such claims, I say this: Italy were playing a man down for half the match.  If your 11 players can’t even manage a goal against a 10-man Azzurri squad, you’re not exactly building a strong “better squad” case, and sorry, but you sure as hell don’t deserve to win by any stretch of the imagination.

Speaking of the Azzurri being a man down, why is it that everyone questions the penalty, but nobody questions Marco Materazzi’s sending off?  Take a look again at his tackle in the video posted above. (It’s 1 min. 19 sec. in.)  Granted, it wasn’t the cleanest of tackles, but at the same token, it was not worthy of red.  (Hell – he actually collided with Zambrotta for the most part.)  Had Materazzi not been (wrongly) dismissed, who knows?  A full-strength Italy may have put one or more in before the penalty!

That “what if” thought brings me to my next point: People talk as though Australia were sure to win the match, had the famous penalty not been awarded.  In response, I’d like to ask these individuals the following question: How the hell did you get a time machine?  In truth, there’s no telling what would’ve happened had Lucas Neill not gone to the ground in Grosso’s path.  Italy may have won anyway.

Speaking of the penalty-prompting incident, the only question I have is why the hell Neill would go to the ground in a situation like that.  I will admit that Grosso may have added a touch of drama to his fall on the way down, but there is no doubt in my mind that he made contact and actually fell over Lucas Neill, who (unbelievably) took to the ground where there was no need to do so.  Take a look again at the video above. (It’s 2 min. 10 sec. in.)  If I suddenly lay down in front of someone that’s running just as they’re practically on top of me, chances are, they’re going down.  Sorry, but that’s the way it works.  If you don’t want the person to fall, don’t lay the #*%& down in front of them!  Honestly, if it makes Australia feel any better to have a scapegoat, they need look no further than Neill.  The rules are simple – you don’t take someone down in the box.  Neill did just that.  A penalty is the result.

Alright. I ‘ve said what I had to say.  Azzurri fans, feel free to direct people to this post, should they ever tell you that Italy “got lucky” or that Italy “didn’t deserve to win the World Cup.”  If they don’t like what I have to say, or if they just don’t like listening to reason, have them take a look at these videos (which happen to be by someone else).

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks that Italy are rightful world champions:

-Part 1-

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

-Part 2-

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Chi arresterà Inter?

October 22, 2007 2:48 am

Thankfully, the train wreck that was Week 8 is over, and were it not for the presence of Napoli, Genoa and Juventus in the top half of the table, I’d swear that we were repeating (albeit roughly) the shenanigans of last season, with Inter in the lead, and Milan doing worse than we’ve come to expect.

While I understand that we still have roughly 79 percent of the season ahead of us (leaving everything wide open, I suppose), the fact that things are looking kinda/sorta like they did last season so early on is a little disappointing.

I mean seriously, will somebody please knock Inter off of their pedestal?

After eight matches, only two teams have even managed to draw with them. Scary, right? With the exception of Fiorentina, Argenti… I mean Inter, is the only unbeaten team in Serie A, and that’s mostly without the benefit of Materazzi’s height.

Continue to the rest of this post… »

Dida: Date a Italiani un Reputazione Terribile!

October 5, 2007 12:13 am

-Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock,- there was an incident at the Milan vs. Celtic match this week. It went like this:

Now, that was pretty comical, right?

Damn straight it was comical, unless of course you’re a fan of Milan or Celtic, OR (and this might be where I loseWeight Exercise some of you) if you give a rat’s ass about Italian soccer at all.

I’ll get straight to the point: Guys like Dida have contributed to the erroneous depiction of Italians as divers and injury fakers. Here’s a guy, playing for an Italian team – thus representing the Italian league – in a match overseas. Sure, he’s a Brazilian, but the fact of the matter is, it’s the crest of one of the most successful, well-known Italian (not Brazilian) teams that he wears on his chest. So, you tell me – whose reputation is on the line? Hint: It’s not the Brazilian league’s.

I am not saying that Brazilians are solely to blame for Italians’ less-than-stellar reputation when it comes to diving and/or injury faking. Nor am I saying that all Brazilians are divers. (Far to the contrary, Kaka is a class act, and I really do like Mancini’s work ethic and commitment to his team.) What I’m saying is, some Brazilians, and other non-Italian divers/simulators are damaging the reputation of the Italian game by association. Meanwhile, the Italians who only take to the ground when they’re doing the tackling (like Daniele De Rossi or “Ringhio” Gattuso, for instance) are grouped with everyone else and are labeled divers and/or fakers.

This of course, leads to videos like the piece of crap below:

Oh yes – Azzurri fans know that one well. Like clockwork, every time there’s a major tournament and the Azzurri are involved, people post that damn video (which I think might be as old as the Internet itself) as if it was new, claiming that it depicts Italians in training. (Some versions have the intro and ending cut out so that there are no words/graphics.) As if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, I think a select few may actually believe that they’re watching a secret video of the Azzurri… which is just motarded (motarded = beyond moronic) considering that 1) the Azzurri (you know… like… the Blues) don’t wear black, and 2) don’t have a single black player.

Nonetheless, sheep “LOL” at the video, simultaneously decrying Italians as the worst thing to happen to football/futbol/calcio/soccer/voetbal/Earth, while the Azzurri faithful are left to defend our campioni from the onslaught.

So, Dida, thanks for dropping like you lost 500 hp in a LARP battle (bonus points to those who got that), and may the damage be to your reputation – not calcio’s.