Thursday, May 07, 2009

Isn't it ironic?

The summer of 2002 is one I don't recall with any pleasure. I had to get time off work to get out of the office to watch the Azzurri clash with South Korea in the World Cup. I remember wishing I hadn't bothered.

And yet all the memories have come flooding back to me following Chelsea's elimination from the Champions League. The same finger-pointing at the referee, the same conspiracy theories, the same bitter recriminations. Except it has all been turned upside down.

Let us recall what Italy fans were told after they lost out in the Far East. "Get over it," was the main message. "You didn't take your chances - so don't blame the referee. You are just making excuses."

Well, great Blues of Stamford Bridge, how about taking that advice?

How many times have I seen an Italian team which based its game on stout defence and great organisation go out to a late goal? We are usually told it serves us right. So why does the same not hold true for an English club side?

The conspiracy theory about UEFA not wanting an all-English final is laughable. Magnificent as the match referee was, how could he have foreseen Iniesta's late, late thunderbolt? Without that, remember, Chelsea were heading to Rome. And how does the ludicrous red card for a Barca player fit in to the theory anyway?

Of course, those of us long enough in the tooth to remember South Korea will recall who was sitting on the bench that day. Yes, it was Mr Hiddink. So when he says the referee on Wednesday night was the worst he has ever seen it is hard not to think he might have a slightly selective memory. Byron Moreno was streets ahead of Tubby Tommy Ovrebo in the controversial decision department. He managed to send a man off when he should have got a penalty. Now imagine if that had happened to Didier Drogba...

Check it out!


Milanista said...

Just read your post on the channel 4's website. Great read and I couldn't agree more. The Italians have been extremely hard done by in recent years and 2002 was the worst. The Engish had it coming, and Chelsea should have sealed the deal ages before the end of the game.

If Cech only had to make his first save in teh 90th minute then the game should have been closed waaay before Iniesta struck.

There is No reason for them to complain when they had just as many referee decisions in their favour.

patcook said...

I read somewhere that Abidal agreed that he should have been sent off. Said something very Italian like "if he had have got passed me he would have scored and we would have lost so i was right to sacrifice myself even tho i will miss the final." I wonder what Raymond Domenech would think of such an italian attitude. Abidal will probably never play for france again lol.

As for the conspiracy, its a joke. Chelsea had planty of chances and Barca scored a fair goal with a minute to go. If Overbo had have given Barca a penalty with a minute to go then Chelski would have a reason to cry foul.

I think Chelsea set the tone in the first leg. They played hard football and got away with it. Overbo just applied the same leniency to Barca. One could say that Overbo should be applauded for maintaining consistency in the appplication of the rules from the first leg.

I was really happy though because Chelsea act like they deserve to have a Champions League title by now. You have to earn it on the pitch, not your wallet.

Aussie Romanista said...

Corker blog on Channel 4 GR. I passed it around to a number of mates and it got a resounding "here here".