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WC 2006 Match Chat: Italy vs Ghana, noon PT
2006-06-12 11:31
by Bob Timmermann

Live from Hanover!

The Azzurri take on the Black Stars.

Italy is in its 16th World Cup, missing only the first one in 1930. They have won three times: 1934, 1938, and 1982. They are always among the favorites to win in any World Cup. Italian soccer was hit hard by evidence of widespread corruption by Series A powerhouse Juventus, but it doesn't appear right now that any players of note are involved.

Ghana is making its first appearance in the World Cup. They have won the African championship, the Cup of Nations, four times.

2006-06-12 12:00:27
1.   Bob Timmermann
The little trivia factoids on the World Cup website note that Italy has not lost a World Cup match in regulation in Europe since 1974.

19 straight matches.

2006-06-12 12:39:38
2.   Kayaker7
What does "in regulation" mean? Within the alotted 90 minutes?
2006-06-12 12:40:27
3.   Bob Timmermann
I should have said "except by penalties".
2006-06-12 12:40:45
4.   Sam DC
Arrivaderci! Molto Benne! Carbonara!
2006-06-12 12:41:46
5.   Kayaker7
Here comes catennaccio.
2006-06-12 12:42:24
6.   Penarol1916
In the knock-out rounds of the world cup, there are overtimes and the penalty shoot-outs. Italy only loses in overtime and penalty shoot-outs in Europe, which also means that they never lose during the group phase when they play in Europe.
2006-06-12 12:42:31
7.   Kayaker7
...and before 74, they were defeated by...North Korea in 66.
2006-06-12 12:42:48
8.   Bob Timmermann
"Catennaccio" of course being Italian for "beating up anyone who comes into the attacking end."
2006-06-12 12:45:05
9.   Kayaker7
8 Is it Scilian in origin, then? ;-)
2006-06-12 12:47:51
10.   Bob Timmermann
To be fair to the Italians, they don't use the catenaccio much anymore. They're usually as good or better than everybody else so they don't have to play it.
2006-06-12 12:50:18
11.   Bob Timmermann
But Italy has not lost even in extra time in Europe since 1974.

In 1982, they won in Spain.

In 1990, they were eliminated by Argentina in penalties, playing at home.

In 1998, they were knocked out by France in penalties.

2006-06-12 12:50:20
12.   Kayaker7
It took Korea punting their posterior in 2002 for them to rethink their "defend a 1 nil lead for 85 minutes" strategy.
2006-06-12 12:55:05
13.   Penarol1916
11. Honestly, I don't remember what happened to them in 74, and I prefer to forget as much as possible about the 1990 World Cup, from the incredibly ugly games to the incredibly ugly stadiums, what a god awful cup that turned out to be. All I remember about Italy in 98 was Dino Baggio kicking a field goal on his penalty in the shootout.
2006-06-12 13:36:44
14.   Kayaker7
13] Beckham did the same not long ago. Can't recall the occasion.
2006-06-12 13:36:55
15.   Bob Timmermann

The Koreans also benefited from some very shaky officiating in that match against Italy in 2002. The Italians are still angry about it.

2006-06-12 13:37:31
16.   Bob Timmermann
Beckhamd did that in the last European championships in Portugal.
2006-06-12 13:41:14
17.   Bob Timmermann
The Big Boys of Group E are going to do well today.
2006-06-12 14:10:43
18.   Kayaker7
15 I'll give you that for the Spain game. The better team did not advance there. No Korean fan would dispute that.

But for Italy...I don't agree. The officiating was poor throughout the tourney, but I don't think it favored Korea in particular for the Italy game. Vieri broke Kim Taeyoung's nose with no consequences. There was a lot of shirt tugging and fouling that went uncalled.

Italian fans will continue to whine about the second yellow on Totti and the "disallowed goal," but Vieri had the yawning goal mouth in front of him, only to chip the shot over the cross bar.

Mr. Sweeney sums up my sensiments pretty succinctly.

2006-06-12 14:20:06
19.   Kayaker7
One more thing. The Italian fans are the whiniest ever. Conspiracy theories abound. The Spaniards got screwed, but they have moved on. I was at a wedding reception this past weekend, a Korean-American friend married a Spanish girl he met while studying in England. She said that the Spanish fans have moved on. "That's football," she remarked.

As an aside, I didn't realize the level of resentment "true" Spaniards have towards Catalonians.

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