Suspicious Italians demand Dutch courage

June 15, 2008

Suspicious ItaliansSuspicious Italians

Italians are suspicious of everything, or so it seems. Several of my friends in Milan refuse to eat pasta or pizza outside Italy because they don’t believe it will taste the same.

They are just as circumspect when it comes to soccer.

The Dutch have already qualified for the Euro 2008 quarter-finals and meet second-placed Romania in their final Group C match in Berne on Tuesday. World champions Italy need the Dutch to get a result to have any chance of going above the Romanians by beating or drawing with France.  

The Italians are terrified that Netherlands coach Marco van Basten will put out a weakened side or the Dutch players will try to avoid injury and not give 100 percent. 

Azzurri fans already think they have been robbed by the officials who allowed Ruud van Nistelrooy’s goal in the 3-0 defeat by the Dutch and disallowed Luca Toni’s valid header in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Romania. Incidentally, that was played on Friday 13th and was the 13th game of the 13th European championship. But having said that, the unlucky number in Italy is actually 17…the date of the France game.

All this follows years of conspiracy theories which Italians have dreamt up to explain their early exit from tournaments.  

At the 2002 World Cup, Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno was blamed for the 2-1 extra time defeat by South Korea in the second round. The Italians were convinced he was under orders to keep the hosts in the tournament. They had no hard evidence, of course.

Two years later Sweden drew 2-2 with Denmark in their final group game at Euro 2004 thanks to a last-minute goal. The result meant the two Scandinavian teams went through while Italy were dumped out despite their victory over Bulgaria. Again the Italians smelt a rat but nothing was proved. 

The fact their 2006 World Cup triumph came in the midst of the Serie A match-fixing scandal was some sort of warped fate, according to many in Italy.

This time coach Roberto Donadoni says he expects old AC Milan chum Van Basten to rally his Dutch troops. Most Italians don’t agree.

Mark Meadows, following Italy at Euro 2008     

PHOTO: Italy fans react while watching the Group C Euro 2008 soccer match between Italy and Romania on a screen at a fan zone in Zurich, June 13. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


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Anyone with a microphone or pen in Italy is now blaming everyone else but Italians for their dismal performances in this tournament. Italians are already making excuses for not even being able making out of the group and screaming “fix”: after picking on the referees, they are saying now that Holland vs Romania will be a fix. The problem for the Italians is that their football is deeply stained with corruption, they have a long history of bribery and drug abuse throughout Serie A. Now they are complaining about an imaginary fix that would cost them qualification from the group stages, forgetting that Romania already has beaten Holland in qualifications and before they have even played France, a game they would have to win. This is yet another example of infatuation. Sometimes those that complain the loudest should look in the mirror and they will see that it is in fact themselves that are the ones to blame and no one else.

Posted by Ioan Mailat | Report as abusive

[…] Source: Mark Meadows […]

Posted by Soccer Camps » Blog Archive » Suspicious Italians demand Dutch courage | Report as abusive

Spot-on Ioan – they must practice their “everyone’s against us” routine on the training ground – it comes out earlier and earlier each time now.

Posted by warren | Report as abusive

Ya , ya , ya the azzurris need to blame someone…hey how about blaming vannistelrooy , schneider and van bronkhorst for scoring 3 beautiful goals……and van nistelrooy for almost scoring a second goal. It was buffon who knocked his own defender over the line , who was actually still involved in the play. The referee nor linesman hesitated and pointed immediately to the kickoff spot. Good call by the officiating crew. And Holland will not allow a fixed game by losing to the romanians. Besides why should the orage be afraid of Italy and France after walking over them already?

Posted by dutchy | Report as abusive

…a general comment: good football so far with unfortunately extremely poor refereeing…

Posted by jc | Report as abusive

My god give it a rest! Italy was completely OUTCLASSED this tournament and only have themselves and an unfortunate injury to Cannavaro to blame.

Also, why on earth should van Basten run out a full strength side? He has no ‘duty’ to help Italy. He has a duty to ensure all of his best players are available for when the next match they play that actually counts comes around.

Posted by papa bear | Report as abusive

the Italians should leave Van Basten alone and blame themselves for not playing well when they had the chance. stop making excuses and being pitiful!

Posted by Saigolady | Report as abusive

i red lot of right things here.
i don’t blame the ref or the orange onesty, but im agree with buffon about the frustation of four years ago when the scandivian gentlemens drown 2-2 and it was what they needed to way out italy.
about the team i know it’s not one of the best whe evere had, we missed the two best italian/world defender nesta cannavaro and totti who always make difference.
cmn italia

Posted by pato | Report as abusive

Yes 17, the no Donadoni wore as he fluffed the penalty against Germany in word cup semis

Posted by njau | Report as abusive

orange brigade were far superior this time round to the 2 blue brigades. admit that italy, its no shame to loose to a better opponent. but its shameful to blame it on “X” factors rather than soccer.

Posted by Siddharth | Report as abusive