Italy, how dare you point fingers?

Posted on June 18, 2012 11:10 am

(EDIT: I would love to know what will Lippi and co. say now after the matches. Not just that there was no “biscotto” but Spain could have taken a goal on purpose in the last minute of their match after the Italian match had finished to send them out. It obviously didn’t happen, but I’m under the impression that it won’t do a thing against the conspiracy theorists who have their new theories ready for next time)

Italians love their conspiracy theories. Every time you talk to an Italian football fan, he will probably try to explain why football is completely taken over by two or three rich and influential guys and every match is rigged one way or the other. It’s part of their culture, they are born with them and will die with them.

In fact, we might say that in the dark shadows of the calcio world, those theories have some basis behind them. After all, this is a country in which the National team best striker was suspended (Paolo Rossi) for a year for fixing matches, which biggest team (Juventus) was relegated for buying referees and in which every four or five years there is a new scandal of some sort of cheating.

The problem is when they try to extrapolate their ghosts and apply them to everyone else. I know Italian fans are going to hate me for this but, for example, while the Korea-Spain in 2002 was an embarrassment for football in general, I don’t see anything wrong with the Italy match in that same World Cup. Despite having five of the best offensive players in the world at the moment (Vieri, Totti, Del Piero, Inzaghi, Montella), Giovani Trapattoni’s team was utterly crap. They should have gone out in the first round after losing to Croatia and being played out of the park by Mexico and they were the worse than Korea that night. The red card was soft, but not entirely unjustified and if Vieri scores that golden chance in the last minute of regular time, there wouldn’t even be a conversation about this.
Then there is the 2-2 in Euro 2004. It’s true that it was a suspicious result, albeit the match between Sweden and Denmark was quite entertaining and it didn’t seem fixed to a neutral eye. However, Italians tend to forget that their team was also awful in that competition, only defeating a very poor Bulgarian team in injury time, and that they had put themselves in that position by not being able to defeat two rivals that should be below their standards.

So, here we are in the same crossroads again, and it’s again Italy’s fault. Their result against Spain was great but to be honest they should have defeated Croatia. And now, they start to point fingers even before the last round of matches start because, well, it’s a great way of not taking the blame. No Italian fan remembers how awful the 2002 and 2004 teams were, only the “fixes” that happened in those tournaments.

Croatian right back Vedran Corluka said it better than anyone. “How dare you point fingers, Italians, after all the scandals in your country?” How dare Lippi imply that there will be a fix when his son was very much involved in the calciopoli scandal? How the media dare to say that there will be something irregular when they have probably the worst sports journalism in Europe, inventing stories as they breathe and working by the same obscure interests that they “denounce”.

The worst thing is, Spain and Croatia won’t draw 2-2. The Spanish players are too good for that and the team’s reputation is too important to take such a risk. But, it happened, there should be only one team to blame, and that are the Italians themselves, not that they are going to do it of course.

About Martin del Palacio

My name is Martín del Palacio Langer, I live in Barcelona and I'm a freelance contributor to FIFA.com, World Soccer magazine, Kicker, MedioTiempo.com, PasionSports and some other publications around the world. I love the tactical and statistical side of football but understand that passion is the most important ingredient in the game. Hope you enjoy this blog and feel free to contact me in the comments section or in www.twitter.com/martindelpENG (for English) and www.twitter.com/martindelp (for Spanish)
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