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FYI.......
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SA Guest Editorial: Good Riddance Italy
South Korea - Italy | News Archive

Editor's Spotlight

06/18/2002. In 1966 it was North Korea that sent Italy home from the World Cup. Legend has it that the Azzuri were greeted by angry fans throwing tomatoes at the airport upon their return to Italy. In 2002, the hosts South Korea sent the cocky Italians home and I, for one, am glad. Bring on the tomatoes and keep throwing them until Italian football improves in attitude and performance.

For years, the Italians have prided themselves on their ability to score a goal and then defend it. The style, called "catenaccio", has been practiced on both the national level and Italian club football level since it came into vogue in the mid-sixties. Don't get me wrong; I am not here to debate the success of Italian football. Italy has always produced outstanding footballers and has had near unprecedented success at the national level. But, upon closer review, the score once and defend attitude hasn't been as successful as you might think. In nearly 50% of the matches that Italy has held a 1-0 lead in the World Cup, they have conceded a goal. Also, the technique itself would not be so disturbing if it was delivered in a more positive way.

While I admire organized defensive soccer, the Italians have taken their defensive system to a cynical level that has done much to destroy what makes football "the beautiful game." Italy has always had gifted players but they also have a disturbing tendency to play a most distasteful brand of soccer. They dive and fake injury more than any team of their skill level. They also grab shirts, throw elbows and deliver more cheap tackles than any other team of their skill level. If they are fouled (or even if they are not) they berate officials from the 1st minute until stoppage time. And once they score, you might as well turn off the television because you know they will defend, foul, complain and most likely win the game. Fortunately, that didn't happen today.

Had the Italians kept pressing, they could have buried South Korea. Instead, they moved further and further back as the match progressed and eventually, their defensive posture wasn't enough. History should have helped them in their selection of tactics. Remember they went out on penalty kicks in France 1998 and again in USA 1994. The same thing happened to them in Euro 2000.

In Euro 2000 it might have been a combination of tactics and arrogance that led to the two late goals by France in the final. Thierry Henry, who scored the game winner in Euro 2000, said, "I was pretty annoyed the Italians were already thinking of victory. They were clapping hands and high-fiving. It was bothering me so I was really happy when the ball went in."

Fortunately, for soccer fans, South Korea beat Italy today with a refreshing brand of football. I hope the attitude of the world press embraces this match as Korean victory instead of an Italian loss. The press, after all, should learn from the match that negative and cynical style isn't always successful.

Gregg Deinhart
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Maybe its for this reason that FIFA organised this to happen?? Who knows..

I think saying "Good Riddance" is too bloody harsh but it shows you what is happening. Everyone in the bar I was in does not appreciate defensive soccer in general.

I do agree that we are TOO defensive though especially when you have half the match to play and are up by one 1 goal.
 

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as a lifetime fan of the beautiful game i would just like to ask this gentleman what gives him the right to call it what he considers beautiful? okay all of the flac italy is receiving about this world cup is totally justified but to knock italian futbol is outright crap. this gentleman contradicts himself in that he states the fact that italian futbol has been successful but italy at the national level has floundered-yeah sure!! just look at the mighty spanish,dutch,germans and portuguese,and of course the english who if you would please forgive my own personal bias i have the dubious feeling that this gentleman hails from. what have they all done in recent times that is so significant in world futbol? apart from the french who are floundering what have any of these countries achieved or won?nothing my friend!!! yes i know the pathetic italians only made it to the finals in 94 w-cup and the semis of 98 w-cup. in both tournies the italians absolutely impressed but were unlucky. in 94 baggio showed the world his greatness but was injured in the finals and unable to show his worth. in 98 the italians also did well but were dealt the blow of penalties as in 94. now w/euro 02 i have a problem. first of all the italians were truly robbed. they outplayed the french and lost in the end in something like 5 minutes of stopage time which was ridiculous!!! the only real disappoint. equal. this latest disaster would be euro 96 where the italians went out early to a highly entertaining decider to the germans whom they totally outplayed but couldn't score against. now as far as italian futbol goes it is undoubtedly the best. and why i say this is it is the biggest challenge for any world class striker it is the place to be. if you claim to be the best then italy is the place to be. how many of the world's best have applied thier trade in italy? oh the italians are cocky and the brazilans english and argentinians aren't? the beauty of calcio is the defensive style of it. the italians have taken defending to an art form. this is the thrill of it. case in point is france 98. the dutch were by far the best attacking team in the tourny. they pretty much destroyed all of thier opposition but when they played italy they were stopped dead in their tracks by one of the best defensive displays that i have ever seen. instead of giving credit the very annoying english commentators criticized the italians for playing their brand of futbol. the brazilians are known for their flare the english for their longball-all-out-attacking game the dutch for thier sound-sophisticated technical clock-like orange style. all of these forms are what collectively make futbol the beautiful game. any student of calcio appreciates the catenacchio style that it offers. if one wants entertaining/attacking futbol there are always la liga and the premiership. the italians dive, wind, and complain incessantly. what a bull**** comment!!! oh i suppose no other country does this?? guys like canna paolo and nesta are world class no frills balls to balls defenders who any coach in the world would drull over. and yet they are only in a line of world class defenders of have carried on a great tradition. however idiotic most of this guy's remarks are i do give him some credit. i hate to admit it but italian coaches are by en large very out of touch. they do often play overly cautious and have an obsession w/technicallity. trap is pathetically the most apparent ex. of this. te guy was great once back a ways but in recent times his old school catenaccio-style has cost him dearly. just look at his stint in germany!! first of all favortism and this belief that certain players can only work in a certain constricted manner is a prevalent way of thinking in italian futbol that has often robbed it of its potential. this present national team is an awesome ex. of this. trap picked a horrendous team of overly defensive generally out of form players. how many other italian coaches have committed thi sin?? look at the very uninspiring italian middle-tomassi(not in the best of his form as he once was) zanetti(young and good passer but very average,not dynamic enough) gatusso(heart of a lion w/no brain) di livio(past his prime) why were these guys picked instead of ambro(solid powerul middle) liverani(also very solid technically) corini(could have been the darkhorse) fiore pirlo manfredini perrotta (all offensive and technical) now it did not matter what good seasons these men had and how much they warranted a spot on the team-trap all along had his favorites who despite many being out of form were favored b/c trap feels they could most fit his system-what a moronic philosophy. and what was the outcome as myself and other followers of calcio predicted-a defeat after a very tense way overly defensive formation. now trap took many steps backwords but italian futbol is definately becoming more offensive w/ more 3-4-3 forms as witnessed in the league. but as even the great italian national chinaglia stated and i wholeheartedly suppoet im is that trap's mentality was all wrong. he played way too defensive and w/no real middle to support the attack. apart from zambro and coco and tomassi at times, there was no general in the mid to orchestrate play. people dont realise what a loss albertini was.also the select. of di liv and not baggio (trap tried to justify the age game) panucci(very one dimensional but trap feels he's this dynamic utility man) iuliano(very ordinary). other crazy moves was the under utilization of montella and del and del and totti together in what trap said wouldn't work!! inzaghi totally underachieved as usual(but trap said he was so great as in qualify., what qual-di you see who italy had to play?)they could have used their u-16 team to qual! i mean in the past other coaches played guys out of position but usually the ones who deserved to play played. trap however inextricably ran counter to all of this!! for gods sake he had panucci as a left back which was so painful to watch and totti as an outright striker who when played correctly only played for himself irregardless of his other mid companions. why did trap not take totti out instead of del who was on fire and plays better w/in the team config. and all of this w/ a 1 goal lead and a half hr. to spare-ludicrous!!! as chinaglia said trap did everything to not win. the italians beat themselves. korea taking the result was just to be expected. such a solid first half but what a let down in the end -montellas birthday and trap doesn't even give the guy a go. instead for pushing for a 2 goal cushion he inserts gatusso only to take del out rather than totti who in my opinion most disgraced the italian squad w/all of his antics. sir don;t you dare knock class acts like buffon zambro(new found respect for this unsung hero) maldini(came back trong to show his class)coco(courageous heart)vieri(feel bad for bobo who was selfishly overworked) and gatusso the warrior who i wish could have been molded w/lazy zanetti to form a work horse that can hold and distribute the ball.of any credit i give trap was to have the balls to include matrix( i thnk was given a wrongdeal for his very limited showing) and doni(why the hell wasn't this guy in the center of middle and droped for zanetti?) both of these added abit of fresh air into a very ordinary squad. so it scars me to learn that trap still might be at the healm of italy despite what i feel screwed italy royally!!! he did everything in his power to complicate things. F.... the bad calls and disallowed goals. italy is way better then what they showed of themselves. how about start point. the finger at trap, a man who is living in the dark ages.this should be a learning experience to build on instead of these prejudicial italian futbol detractors being given an excuse to knock italy's beautiful game, and the many loyal followers who love it so to have to bare listening to. read the article that is a testament to maldini's career(played bad but came back like a true champion he is)@ soccerage. and to you mr. reinghart or whatever your name is i'll be awaiting to hear more of your dribble in 4 yrs. time when cocky italian internationals pirlo maccarrone bonera ferrari marchioni and countless others lead italia to greatness w/the always reliable bakline of nesta and canna whom the koreans should be so lucky not to have faced. all praise to korea for their historic run which came at the hands of a second string side (apart from those given special mention.) and their very incompetent coach who deserves ridiculing rather than fifa. for god's sake get erikson fergie or hodgson to coach italy. n.european coaches who love to attack w/ a solid defense in support! look out brazil for italy will be back as her heritage has shown. forza italia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Both of these posts far exceed my feeble attention span, so I will conclude by saying I have no italian blood and am a huge fan of the azzuri, albeit a rather frustrated one at the moment. ;) :D
 

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I'm mystified by how the article posted above can be interpreted as proof of hatred towards Italy. The article criticizes a style of play - not Italians. In fact, it compliments the ability of Italian players. It is IMHO, 100% right on the money. Thanks for posting it.

the beauty of calcio is the defensive style of it. the italians have taken defending to an art form. this is the thrill of it.
Yankee, you're entitled to this opinion of course, (which incidentally is a right everyone enjoys), but as I've said elsewhere, I strongly disagree. If you want to tell me that Italy's defensive style has been effective - I will not argue. But beautiful? Again, with a nod to the whole "eye of the beholder thing", I try to keep an open mind, but I do not see how shutting down the game and reducing the attacking to almost nothing, makes for a beautiful game. And again, as I've said elsewhere, this style of game seems to me - cowardly in its conception. I'm not trying to insult anyone, it just reflects the fact that Italy is placing heavy emphasis on a win at all costs. And the cost in this case is the sacrifice of an entertaining, faster style of play.

Italy should have won against Korea, (just as my Portugal should have), both teams lost, (sketchy officiating aside), because they didn't have as much heart as the Koreans. There's more shame in trying to deny that fact than there is in accepting it and dealing with it.
 
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