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Italy lack cohesion and fans

June 10, 2008

Dutch parade

World champions Italy had no cohesion, no passion and no luck in their 3-0 defeat by the Dutch, but they also had something else important missing — fans.

The Stade de Suisse in Berne was three-quarters orange with only a small section of the 30,000 crowd speckled with blue shirts. Italian fans have never travelled well but with Milan just hours away by train, it was bizarre that the Dutch outnumbered them so hugely for the Euro 2008 Group C opener.

In the beautiful city centre before the game, the swathes of colourful Dutch fans held a parade and a rock concert but you could count the Italian supporters on two hands.

The lack of support does not excuse the Azzurri’s failings on the pitch, but walking into the stadium the players must have thought they’d been transported to Amsterdam.

The small number of Italian fans also had a bearing on the atmosphere inside the ground when Ruud van Nistelrooy’s first-half opener was allowed to stand. Christian Panucci was adjudged to have played him onside, despite lying down injured behind the byline.

The goal was shown on the stadium big screen but the cries of anger from the tiny Italian contingent barely registered.

One can only imagine the noise the Dutch would have made if the incident had happened in the other box.  

Mark Meadows, Berne

PHOTO: Dutch fans walk to the game with just a few Italians scattered among them.  June 9 REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Comments

I think that both the fans and the players will show up for match number two on Friday. I’m predicting a 2 – nil win by Italy over Romania – to really confuse this group. The Dutch and French will draw on Friday. Despite the horrid 3 – nil score-line against the Italians – I would actually be more concerned if I were a fan of the insipid French. At least the Italians showed some fight and created some real chances in the second half of their match.

 

Italian fans never turn up, and they certainly won’t bother now. France aren’t much better either. The players must be used to it but I agree that it must be hugely disheartening for them.
Contrast that with the 20,000 Croatians who gave their team fantastic support against Austria – in Vienna.

 

It was funny that there weren’t as many German fans as you’d have expected at the Poland game. The Poles outnumbered them pretty heavily and it felt like an away game for Germany. I suspect Croatia will have more on Thursday as well. Still, didn’t seem to make much difference the other day.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

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