Sunday, November 18, 2007

Call it what you will, but not a robbery...

Well, on a wet and grey Glasgow night, the Azzurri got the job done. It wasn't always pretty and there were a few shaky moments but they showed a lot of guts and "grinta" to record a first ever win on Scottish soil. Shame it had to knock the Tartan Army out as well and put them Frenchies through.

The mission could hardly have started better when Luca Toni (right) poked the ball home in a little over a minute. The big man does not get all the credit he deserves for just how skillful he is. Watch that finish again, he scooped the ball into the net in some style.

Much of the rest of the game revolved around the match officials. Italy had a lengthy spell in control as Scotland recovered from the shock of the early strike. Then Antonio Di Natale had a goal ruled out for offside which should have stood. At 2-0, I reckon, the game would have been pretty much over.

In the second half, however, Scotland struck back. They were certainly pushing hard but the manner in which the goal came saw the officials in the spotlight again. The Scottish press has said Barry Ferguson "may have looked a shade offside" or the goal had a "hint of offside" about it. Let's be frank here, he was a good half-yard offside and the assistant referee had the benefit of a line right across the pitch to help him judge. In exactly the same position as he had ruled out Di Natale's strike, he got it wrong again.

In fairness, I also struggled to see how Chiellini's shoulder barge on Hutton ended up being a free-kick to Italy. In the last minute it led to Panucci's winner. The timing was harsh, but over the game it still made the major error count 2-1 in Scotland's favour. Call it what you will, but not a robbery.

Old Mejuto Gonzalez the referee is notoriously inconsistent. The apparently same incident can lead to a foul, a play-on gesture or a yellow card. That is annoying for players, in fact, annoying for everyone. It was certainly a shame that he was in charge.

I do think the better team went through but I would have rather seen France go out rather than Scotland. I hope now Alex McLeish can build on what his team showed last night. And, above all, I hope they are not in Italy's group again when the World Cup draw is made next week...

7 comments:

Antonio Gurrado said...

I think it was the first match I saw Italy running over the 90 minutes since Donadoni's arrival.

G.

martinobhoy said...

Spot on assessment Ginkers. We could feel aggrieved at the foul at the end but our goal was offside and Di Natale's wasn't.

I think if we had settled for the draw then Italy would have as well. Unfortunately with us pushing for the win Italy probably felt they had to get a second to make sure.

Ach well, on to the World Cup and at least I know who I'll be supporting now in Euro 2008. Forza Azzurri!

patcook said...

I think Scotland will get a second seed for the WC qualifiers which will hopefully mean that even if Italy get them that will probably be their closest competition.

I think McLiesh will go back to club football if he gets a half decent offer from an EPL club

Brian said...

At least it save the nation the pain of sitting for 90 minutes hoping that France will get beat only for Henry to score in the last few minutes. Don't know who I'll support in the finals, I suppose it depend on if England qualify ...... then I can cheer on who ever they get drawn against!

Best of luck to Italy, and as you say let's hope the draw for the world cup keep us apart.

TrentToffee said...

Di Natale's goal should have stood. However, I'm glad that Ferguson's was also given. Give the attacker the benefit of the doubt I say. If officials are going to give offside by inches then they might as well fit the players with positioning transmitters and let the 4th official make the call. It was a shocking decision for the free-kick at the end of the match. What did you think of the handball shout on Zambrotta ?

Likewise I think McLeish will go back to club football if he gets a decent offer.

ginkers said...

Antonio

It was nice to see such commitment throughout the game. Maybe there is better to come!

Martino

I can understand the pain because of the timing of the last dodgy decision but at least you have an excuse to go out and get some good red wine in for next summer!

Pat

Now that Scotland have boosted their seeding level they have to justify it. Next time around there should be no standing and cheering if they fail to qualify.

Brian

You can warm up by cheering Croatia on Wednesday.

Trent

I thought the handball shout was on the shoulder although I didnt see that many replays of it. It would be shame if McLeish did a Walter Smith and jumped as soon as a club came in for him. However, I do think that as long as whoever replaces him is of reasonable quality they now have a decent squad to work with.

Aussie Romanista said...
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