Friday, May 25, 2007

Place your bets now please

The final day of the Italian season can mean only one thing - watch out for the dodgy results. In the normal course of affairs you would expect Siena to struggle against Lazio, Reggina to have their work cut out against Milan and Empoli to give Parma a tough time. But these are not ordinary circumstances.

A total of five teams could make the drop from Serie A - Chievo, Catania, Parma, Reggina and Siena. But the last three have the luxury of knowing they are playing teams with nothing left to fight for. And we all know how that usually pans out. Reggina and Siena must win their games while a draw would suffice for Parma. What price those being the outcomes of these matches? Not very high according to the bookies.

The situation becomes more intriguing, of course, because Chievo and Catania go head to head this weekend. With the other three likely to be gifted their salvation, it is likely to be a fight to the death. I have had my suspicions, since the Raciti tragedy, that Serie A would like to get rid of the Sicilians - so keep an eye out for some pro-Chievo action.

However, maybe something will slip from the script. Milan are likely to rest all their Champions League heroes but their reserves might be up for the fight against Reggina. Although, of all the teams in the dogfight, I think they most deserve to be saved. Parma have earned their place in Serie A under Claudio Ranieri and opponents Empoli have already shown themselves to be quite obliging. Lazio might be the only fly in the ointment against Siena. But why should they be so nasty?

My forecast, for what it's worth? Reggina and Siena to win, Parma and Empoli play out a draw and Chievo beat Catania sending them to Serie B along with Messina and Ascoli. You won't get much of a price on it but its a four-timer that could well come up...


Antonio Gurrado said...

Last time Milan won the CL (it often happens) on the last Serie A day Carletto Ancelotti played Valerio Fori between the goalposts, and we were defeated 2-4 by, er, Piacenza.


PS: And tomorrow, there's the party for Inter LAST scudetto.

ginkers said...

I remember one Milan end of season game - with the league won - when Demetrio Albertini scored in a game where a draw had clearly been "agreed". He turned around to celebrate and found all his teammates looking stonily at him. Needless to say the opposition went up the pitch and dribbled through the best defence in Italy to score...

Aussie Romanista said...

Well put AG.... last scudetto in their history, let's hope.

If I was a midfielder who didn't score much I'd take advantage of the last round shenanigans if I could too.

How about the emails going round with pictures of the Milan players on the open top bus. One with Gattuso showing a sign with a black and blue background reads "Io non la vinco da 42 anni", Ambro holding up a banner "Lo Scudetto mettilo nel culo" (which he was forced to apologise for) and a map of Europe which shows Italy in the colours of Inter (vergogna) and the rest of Europe in the colours of Milan.

Personally, instead of aplogosing I would have liked to see Ambro say "they can stick it up their asses because they all wanted us to lose against Liverpool, they said as much and they rubbished our success when they should just shut the hell up". Stuff diplomacy, give me honesty.

Aussie Romanista said...

Also, just want to say it's a shame to see Chievo go down to Serie B. When they first came to Serie A they breathed new life in to Italian football in a way not seen maybe since Parma came up. They managed to convert a lot of Hellas Verona supporters and they became many Italians' second team for the way they played some wonderful football with players such as Perrotta, Corini, Marrazzina, Corradi etc. Although in recent seasons they haven't performed as well as they did initially in Serie A, they deserved their place mixing it with the big boys.

Anonymous said...

This is off-topic, but I would like to know what your thoughts are:

Bolivia baulks at altitude ban
From correspondents in La Paz, Bolivia
May 28, 2007
BOLIVIA president Evo Morales has called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss FIFA's decision to ban international matches at high altitude.

The world football governing body's decision to set a limit of 2500 metres above sea level is a severe blow to Bolivia, which enjoys the advantage of playing its home World Cup qualifiers at 3600m in La Paz.

On Sunday, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said its Executive Committee had decided to act after a proposal from the medical committee.

"We are to hold an emergency meeting this Monday to deal with the matter of football,'' Morales said.

Bolivia has enjoyed historic wins over both Brazil and Argentina in the past in La Paz and finished as runner-up to Brazil when it hosted the Copa America in 1997.

FIFA's decision would also hit Ecuador, which qualified for the last two World Cups on the back of its performances in Quito at 2800m. Ecuador is unbeaten at home in nearly six years.

Colombia's capital Bogota lies at around 2700m, although the national team is understood to prefer staging matches in the steamy Caribbean port of Barranquilla.

Peru had also planned to stage matches at high altitude in the Andean city of Cuzco in the wake of its poor form in the capital Lima, the traditional venue for home games.

FIFA favouring the big boys?

- Juventino

Pat said...

I think that if the medical reasoning is solid then its a good idea. There have been several players die on the pitch in recent years. I dont know if it was in part due to altitude or not.

If it turns out the medical advice is a bit dodgy then obviously the idea should be scrapped

ginkers said...


I think Inter can still only dream of having the reputation Milan have worldwide. It will take them more than one gifted Scudetto and another won when their rivals were crippled to make up that gap.

I was also sorry to see Chievo go down but they were so weak up front this term they were always under pressure. Still, I thought they might have had enough to knock out Catania but I think Reggina's draw with Empoli a week earlier knocked their stuffing out a bit.


I wonder if Moggi is part of the FIFA set-up now. I don't think much of this ruling unless, as Pat says, there are sound health reasons for it. Otherwise, it could lead to all sorts of external factors being used to decide where a match is played. Too windy, grass too bumpy, too cold, too hot, etc...

Anonymous said...

Marc Vivien Foe wasn't in La Paz or Quito when he died.

Playing in 30C heat at sea level is dangerous.

- Juventino