So Italy CAN Lose a Shootout?

UEFA, in it's infinite wisdom, is giving pacemaker and defibrillator technicians the world over a chance to catch up with the service calls by giving us all a couple days without Euro 2008.

Not that we'll have any idea what to do with all that spare time; you could watch Wimbledon, I suppose, but early round matches between Roger Federer and some 327th ranked Romanian teenage lacks the drama of, say, Italy-Spain.

Not that the latter was exactly riveting soccer; Italy turned out to be as scared of the Spanish as everyone else and as a result simply held on for 120 minutes secure in the knowledge that, as sure as the sun rises in the east, Italy always wins shootouts.

Well, so much for that theory.

So if you tuned in hoping for 90 minutes of the stylish, flowing, pin-point passing, ball-posession Spaniards, you were bitterly disappointed. Italy had no desire to see any such thing.

As a result, they clogged up the middle of the pitch with I think it was 13 or 14 guys, pushed everything to the far outside, filled every passing lane and counted on a severely overmatched Luca Toni to grab them a goal on a counter. Or something.

Honestly though, I'm not sure that Italy's offensive plans were even that complicated, so commited were they to simply keeping Spain out of the box.

How bad was it? Italy - land of hair-on-fire attacking - got their first corner at the 40 minute mark.

Still, it was the Italians who came closest to scoring, when Camoranesi got a solid hit during a penaly area free-for-all and Spanish keeper Iker Casillas made an unbelieveable reaction save with his left foot to save the scoreboard from being sullied by a numeral other than zero.

And it was Casillas again, saving two PK's and staking a solid claim to Best Keeper in the Tournament status, who finally put this match out of it's misery and gave the win to the better team.

So now we have a couple days without soccer. Just as well. After so many days of spectacular match after unbelievable ending after ridiculous drama, Euro 2008 finally hit a sour note.

So this is probably a good time to take a break anyway.