Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Italy 2 France 0, and Holland 2 Romania 0, means that the Azzurri are through to the quarter-finals!

I have to say that although the goal ruled out against Romania shouldn't have been, and so we could or should have won then, the group stage has been pretty stressful and unimpressive considering we are world champions. CB keeps telling me this is irrelevant and should be forgotten, but that's easy to say when it's not his team.

But tonight was a great performance, and even without the sending off I think we'd have won. For France really only Benzema impressed me (though obviously neither Ribery nor Nasri had a chance to do so). For us I thought Buffon was great, Chiellini was pleasing, Perrotta looked very lively and De Rossi was immense, especially once Pirlo went off. I mean, sure, I'm biased but what they hell. I loved it when he just casually wiped his bleeding nose on his shirt and ran straight back on. Grr. Although his goal took such a massive deviation it was practically an Henry own goal. Incidentally, the only thing Henry seems to retain of his glorious past at Arsenal is his hotness. His pace and trickery and genius seem to have seized up a bit, the once unfathomable feints and dodges look mechanical and predictable, like a clockword toy slowly winding down.

Now we face Spain - eek! probably the two best strikers in the tournament, against a somewhat makeshift defence - though it looked very well organised tonight - and Luca Toni doing his finiest impression of a gigantic lumbering carthorse. But I didn't really think we'd get through tonight, so there's always hope. Looks like Romania choked in a big way - I think maybe from the moment Mutu screwed up his penalty against us they lost a bit of belief. Anyway: Spain. and also woo.

CB and I went out and celebrated with a freshly baked giant custard doughnut, and very nice it was too. There is of course much hooting of horns and shouting and waving of flags and setting off of fireworks and bangers. All to the great amusement of CB, of course.

I'm off to sleep the sleep of the victorious. and the sugar-filled.


Aussie Romanista said...

"...tonight was a great performance".
Princess, please watch the game again. This is quite simply the worst win I've ever seen since I was a kid. We were terrible and only won because of 2 set pieces (1 a penalty which is sometimes given, sometimes not although for me it was, and because of a deflected free kick) and because France are just that much shitter than us. Sorry for being so pessimistic, you know I love the Azzurri before anything else in the world, but how can you sit on your couch and enjoy that performance? The worst part is that Donadoni gets to keep his job for at least 4 more days. He is up there with Sacchi in terms of no idea-ness. Which makes sense because he was Sacchi's student.

Toni was a disaster. Try to tell me that Inzaghi would have missed that many chances. Pippo would have had a hat-trick by half time then gone off for a hot shower.
When 2-0 up with 25 minutes remaining, qualification all but secure, why would Donadoni not bring on Borriello?? In any tournament surely you need more than 1 striker at some point, so why not give Borriello a run, even if leaving Toni on to play them together, to give him some tournament time? He should have come on instead of Ambrosini.

Then there is Di Natale. Now he doesn't do much for me, but throughout the qualifying campaign Di Natale was virtually the first player picked (or 3rd after Cannavaro and Buffon). Then when it comes to the tournament he's dropped to the bench after the first game and hasn't been seen again. This just shows how unsure Donadoni is of his starting line up.

And then there is the WAY that we play. In all three matches our tactics are more English than the English of old. Long balls from defense over the top of the opposing defense for Toni to chase down. Hit and hope. That's pretty much it. What a joke! What do they expect him to do with these long balls? It's embarrassing to watch. All Pirlo seems to do is play long balls over the top, mostly missing the target, he's a shadow of his former self and his suspension might be a blessing, but when you get the defenders launching missiles over midfield it looks even worse. I'm sure that there was hardly any, if any at all, of this at the world cup. Are these Donadoni's tactics?? May God help us! Funnily enough the penalty did come from one of these long balls. There's the one time it will work in the tournament. Luckily France we just plain bad.

THEN.... how about all their reactions? For once I would like to see us score a goal and instead of celebrating like the date is 9 June 2006, just grab the ball out of the net and run back and start again because we have a friggin job to do. Instead, Donadoni is off the bench jumping and shouting like he's scored the Urlo di Tardelli! That's the sign of a man who feels under great pressure. After the match the players are running around high fiving and throwing their kits in to the crowd, doing a lap of honour like they have achieved nirvana! I would have thrown it back at them if I'd caught a shirt.
It's an embarrassment to celebrate scraping though the group when we are so shit, playing against worse shit, and the job is soooo far from over.

I haven't been so critical of Italy for years, nor have I sat there totally bemused in front of my tv when we have scored a goal (both of them), usually my heart is in my mouth pumping 5 times harder when we're in this situation (eg. Nigeria in 94) so resigned am I to the fact that this team is a shadow of itself under Lippi 2 years ago that we surely cannot win this tournament playing like this.

No matter what happens, it's time for a clean out starting with Donadoni (and I hope it's Marcello who comes back), and everyone older than 30 except Buffon.
Again, sorry for my pessimism, but I make sense don't I?

ursus arctos said...


They explode sausages in the street?

Sono Pazzi, Questi Romani.

TrentToffee said...

It's generally the Italian way. Look pretty ordinary in the group stages (a la USA-94). Then go on and win the damn thing (or nearly). I have to agree with AR, it certainly wasn't a great performance. France were/are awful !! Strewth, who is that Clerc bloke ? He's awful !!! along with Thuram, Henry, Maka...

chris c paul said...

France were woeful- and it clearly wasn't there night either- that said both Italy and Germany did the professional thing- played crap but went through anyway.

Aussie Romanista said...

I made an error in my critique: the date mentioned should have read 9 July 2006.

* (asterisk) said...

What the hell was Toni up to?! Anyway, all's well that ends well, though I'd like to see the yellow for Pirlo revoked, given the circumstances. What are the chances, though?

patcook said...

I thought it was a good performance, although i still think their is plenty of room for improvement.

Toni looked useless. In the first two games he got no services, against france he hade at least 8 or 9 clear chances and not a goal to speak of. If abidal hadn't have fouled him in the box we might never have scored. I think he needs to be dropped against spain.

AR, i disagree. I think Donadoni is doing a good job considering the limited experience he had before getting the job and the immense pressure to back up the WC06 win at Euro08. Ive been pleased by his willingness to change things up, though i haven't always agreed with his decisions. I think Cassano has been a joy to watch so far and if he can score a winner against Spain he'll well and truly be back in the spot light. Grosso has been great to watch as well as De Rossi and Buffon and, except for his blunder against Romania, Zambrotta has been pleasing too.

I think Pirlo had a much better game against France than he did in the first two and i think his suspension is horrid timing.

I agree Borriello should get a run, in fact, i would like to see him up front with ADP and Cassano in behind them against Spain.

And lets not forget we scraped through one of the hardest groups ever at any major tournament despite a multitude of ref decisions going against.

Azzurri squad's of the past would have given up after the controversy of the RVN goal and the horrible offside call against Romania.

Even if the Azzurri can't beat Spain i'll be proud of the effort

A. said...

aussie romanista, don't bet on Inzaghi scoring from the chances that Toni got either.

I've been watching Inzaghi play since his Atalanta days and from my experience he misses lots of chances before scoring. I'd put at 3 to 1.