Friday, June 23, 2006

Buongiorno Sport!

Ci siamo. After a less than sparkling but less than awful performance against the Czech Republic we are through on top of the group with a tie against the Aussies in the last 16. There were good and bad parts to the game on Thursday but the biggest laugh, I admit, was Materazzi getting his goal.

In my house, and probably houses around Italy, his introduction for Nesta prompted forlorn cries. We might as well go home now - that was the logic. He'll give away a penalty or get sent off. Instead, he was a candidate for man of the match. And later, as Martino so sagely points out elsewhere, the Pippo Must Go Campaign run here proved to be extremely appropriate.

I thought against ten men we were rarely troubled. Gattuso worked hard, Pirlo got a bit more room and Totti needs a goal or something to get him back to match sharpness. I think Fabio Cannavaro has been my man of the tournament so far, he has blocked shots, anticipated the play and generally done everything asked of him brilliantly. The back line looks at its most solid with Zambo, Grosso, him and Nesta. Buffon was also immense, but we have come to expect that. Hope he's had a wee bet on Italy to win the competition.

Camoranesi was better but still frustrating and Gila pretty anonymous. Perrotta and Barone were pretty steady. I wasnt happy at seeing Toni left out but the ends justify the means.

Now its on to Australia on Monday. The draw has certainly opened up for us but I'm not going to be drawn into that most English pastime of plotting a path to the final. The Aussies are a banana-skin fixture as they are "just happy to be there" while we are expected to win. It sounds like Nesta will miss out which is another worry - big Marco can't play that well again can he? Still, let them stick to cricket and rugby, I say, and let us move on stealthily into the quarter finals. Otherwise I'll be crying in my XXXX.


a.c.t said...

I saw an Aussie rules football game a few years ago and despite them being big strapping fellas, they couldn't go for 10 minutes without a breather and a drink.
I was hoping this lot would be the same, but unfortunately not. They'll put up a good fight but if we perform like we did yesterday, we should (hopefully) be ok.

martinobhoy said...

"Martino" and "sagely" in the same sentence? It's not often, if ever, I've seen that. Cheers!

You're right, the Aussies are a potential banana skin but I think we'll be fine.

Another half day on Monday beckons.

Spangly Princess said...

not a great game but it's the result that matters. Surprised at the decision to drop Luca rather than Gila, but as you say it worked. Pirlo and Cannavaro have both impressed me consistently, and Gigi was fantastic.