Posted on July 10, 2006 Posted by John Scalzi 25 Comments
I’m back home, and catching up on some work with which I am now behind (curse you, United Airlines!). I’ll be back a little later. Until then amuse yourself. Here’s a topic to start you off:
Italy: Great soccer team, or the greatest soccer team?
Them Italians… good with their feet. Country’s shaped like a boot don’t ya know.
Perhaps they should be excluded from future Cups for that reason.
Good with their feet, but not as good as the French with their heads. ;)
It’s like football!
I am 1/1000th italian and proud.
– Sr. Carlo Sabbatini
Great, but not greatest. Greatest doesn’t need the kind of luck they had to get past the freakin’ Australians. No offence, Australia.
This year’s team: good but not great. They didn’t really distinguish themselves over the other teams (other than, you know, by winning). Barely beat France and Germany, and had an easy path through the octos and quarters.
But over time? Only Brazil is better.
Gack, Italy. I would have been happier to see just about anyone else win this. I’m somewhat biased after attending the USA/Italy match, but to me it seems like the players are thugs (though they cleaned themselves up in the later rounds of the tournament), some of the fans are a little disturbing (making fascist salutes at the opposing team’s fans? while in Germany? I’m still boggling over this one), and the current Serie A scandal is not very surprising.
At least Germany’s finish in the third place match was a nice consolation prize. And uh, our local USL team beat a Championship team from England on Saturday. Not a high level of play, but it was fun.
The Italians are a great team. Luck is part of the beautiful game and keeps soccer gods on thier toes. (They can’t get too complacent, like the Brazilians did.) I wish acting and thuggery weren’t part of the game, but I think the Italians did no worse and no better than most other teams in that regard.
What they really excelled at was teamwork and persistance. A team riding on the coattails of one or two geniuses will eventually fail.
I thought the steady leadership of Cannavaro was exceptional, especially when compared to Zidane’s temporary insanity. The French and that particular Frenchman don’t deserve to be remembered that way.
Though there are many deserving teams and I was personally cheering for the Argentines, I think Italy deserves the Cup. They were bellisimo!
If Italy had played any worse, they would have lost. Which is sad, because France played a better game and lost anyway.
On a different note, I sure would like to have heard whatever was said to the French Captain by the Italian player. It had to have been a death threat for the reaction it got. Or, you know, something about his Momma.
But the real treats for me? The theatricals. They were incredible. Watching grown men act like five year olds with a cut, wailing as if they might bleed to death? That was priceless. I haven’t screamed “Get up and PLAY, dammit!!” so much in…Wait. I’ve never screamed those words as much as I did during the soccer matches.
Here’s a little funny about theatricals in soccer to illustrate my point. I swiped the link from Dave Barry’s blog.
Still, the matches were fun to watch. I’m going for Prozac now.
It’s true that Australia nearly had them. They didn’t find their feet (pun intended) in the early stages. But they still got through, eh? The goals count.
Which Championship side, Audrey?!? Not my side, Crystal Palace, I hope?
Nope, Coventry City. They came over for a couple of preseason matches against the Portland Timbers and the team at BYU.
Oh, did Italy win? I put the importance of which gang of overpaid mercenaries wins an athletic contest somewhere below which male hollywood egomaniac impregnated which female hollywood egomaniac.
Oh, Jon. Come have a hug.
I sure would like to have heard whatever was said to the French Captain by the Italian player.
This would seem to indicate that Materazzi called Zidane’s sister a whore. And this after Zidane brushed off Mazzerati’s incredible grabbing by telling him he could have his shirt after the match.
If I were Zidane, I might’ve knocked him on his ass as well.
In any case, though, I’m not sad for Materazzi, especially after seeing this on Google Video. Apparently, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
Ah, I feel sorry for Zidane, to leave the field, and his career, like that.
But if what Brandon said was true, then I would also say it was justified. Yes, I know it was just words, but there’s something about defending your sister’s honor…and something like that never should’ve been said. Zidane has had his problems in the past, but he wasn’t a candidate for most off-the-wall player…
*shrugs* Good for Italy, but France should have won. -Honorably- too.
Different Brandon here.
I agree with Sean that you need to defend your sister’s honor, but at the same time, what about honoring your commitment to your teammates? France had been attacking for pretty much the entire second half, and by the time of the red card, the Italians were getting tired. It’s possible that had Zidane stayed in the match, France could have scored a late goal, and if they hadn’t, France certainly could have benefitted by having Zidane on penalties, as displayed by his earlier FK.
Yes, having your sister called a whore is certainly an act that needs addressing, but do it after you’ve won the World Cup, when you can add an ass beating to Materazzi’s heartbreaking loss.
Just great. All-time greatest is still Brazil, and current greatest is France. Even if Italy had played a better game than France in the final this year, I’d still be loath to give ‘greatest’ to them, ’cause they do specialize in cheating a little too much.
Materazzi in particular seems to be world champion in the fields of diving, ref distraction, and putting the boot in.
As a committed fan of “real” football I have to say that the final left me feeling very sad for my sport. The French side may have lost but they were not beaten. The histrionics shown by players from Italy and oher countires during the entire tournament had no place in the biggest game on the planet. Diving should remain an Olympic sport not a second-rate footballer’s tactic.
One would think by these glowing posts that France never took a dive or resorted to thuggery at some pretty unimaginative trash talk.
What does “diving” mean when used referring to football/soccer?
It means you fake an injury to earn a penalty on the other player.
Anne C. said, “One would think by these glowing posts that France never took a dive…”Such as the one that lead to their PK in the opening minutes of the final. Both teams, nay, all teams, to a degree, pull theatrics to gain free kicks/cards. Just part of the game – take that how you may.
I agree, Anton. And the ones who do it the least get recognized. Brazil and Spain shared the FIFA Fair Play award for this year’s Cup. It’s the Brazilians third time winning the award. In my opinion, it’s a point in thier favor when considering that “Greatest Team” appelation.