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It's not paranoia if it's pointless
2005-12-13 00:19
by Bob Timmermann

An Italian television station is accusing former German soccer star Lothar Matthaus of manipulating the draw for the World Cup, so that the Italian team would be put in the same group with the U.S.

Matthaus's spokesman, Patrick Ewing, denied the charge.

2005-12-13 07:30:37
1.   adamclyde
Wow... frankly, I think we should be flattered that the Italians are miffed to be in the same group as us. 8 or even 4 years ago, they'd be celebrating they got us in the draw.

Now... to the conspiracy point. I guess it is another illustration of where Soccer sits on the U.S. sports totem pole that no one has even tried to start a conspiracy about the group selection.

2005-12-13 10:39:22
2.   Zak
I love Italian soccer with a passion. My favorite team is AC Milan (yes, I know, the last six months have been rough, and this weekend was brutal), but I have to admire the imagination of the Italian soccer conspiracy theorists, which is pretty much the whole country.

The Italian national team always blames something for their failures, or in this case, fear of failures. In the nineties, they hated the penalty shoot-out and blamed luck and destiny and everything else after going out on penalties. In 2002, it was the Ecuadorian(?) referee. In 2004, it was all of Scandinavia who was conspiring against them.

2005-12-13 12:42:23
3.   Bob Timmermann
I checked and indeed the referee in the controversial Italy-South Korea match in 2002 was Ecuadorian.
2005-12-13 15:32:48
4.   Zak
Thanks for checking. I would have no idea where to look. Yeah, I thought he was Ecuadorian and I remember, he took so much heat for his decisions in that Italy 2nd round game, including allegations of bribery, cheating, etc., that it ruined his career as a referee. I'd feel sorry for him, but in the footsteps of all corrupt officials, he then became a politician (if I remember correctly). I don't think I could make this stuff up.

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