Sunday, June 18, 2006

Don't believe the score, the US won

Since I’m the resident Italy/Sicily/Iraq expert here at the Warren, here are my thoughts on the US-Italy game. I was privileged to watch the game surrounded by Italians. Unfortunately, I got there after 30 minutes had passed, so I didn’t get to see any of the goals that counted. However, of the two red cards that the US was given, the first was so-so and smacked of equalization for the Italian red card, but the second was a complete fabrication. It seemed to me that someone had cornered the ref in the dressing room at the half and told him that the US must not be allowed to win the game, ergo, a bogus red card to put the US down a man. I thought that the US would roll over to the Italians and go into a defensive shell, but I was surprised that they took the game to the Italians. Many of the Italians who I was watching the game with thought that the US played very well, but very rough (“The US thinks this is war!”), but they were more disappointed with the Italian team. Every time the Italian team coughed up the ball or came away with out any shots on goal, they would start saying “Che vergogna!” (What a shame!).

The second US goal that was taken away seemed to be, yet again, the referee trying to tilt the game in Italy’s favor, but the replay showed the US player being offside when the ball was shot on goal. If he had been far from the play, I think the goal might have stood, but the ball was shot right at him, so you could argue that it was a no goal, but still, if it had been Brazil, we would be talking about having allowed the goal.

All in all, the US did very good containing the Italians and the US goalie played an outstanding game. Although the score was 1-1, many of the Italians thought that the US won the game. If you think about it, we did. Being down 9 men against a 10-man Italian side, we kept them off the board and also kept them honest by making their goalie work. I thought we pretty well owned the middle of the field and we made many defensive plays that made me wonder just where we got players like that. Like I posted before, the 3-0 lost had the desired effect of giving the US a much-deserved kick in the pants and luckily for Italy, they managed a tie.

Now, all we have to do is win against Ghana and win big, just in case the Italians don’t win against the Czechs. If they do anything else, we will have to go to the tie-breaker rules and right now, our goal differential sucks. You could say that Italy and the Czechs will just play for the tie and both go thru, but second place gets powerhouse (although they don’t look that way right now) Brazil while first place gets a patsy like Croatia or Australia. So, both teams have an incentive to play for first, so hopefully, the Italy will beat the Czechs and we can pull out the win against Ghana.


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