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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Italian "soccer"

Samirah said:
Noooooo! Italy doesnt play dirty, they play creatively! There's a difference you know. And come on, who doesnt play up an injury for extra points/time outs/do-overs? Haven't you ever seen an NFL game? Besides, they killed the Ukraine, absolutely killed them. Italy could have just stood around playing with Francesco Totti's hair and they still would have won. They're just a better team.
Y-yes, there is some truth to your points, other teams do some of those things. The Dutch can be brutal, but when they get hit, they don't play the weenie card. The Portuguese totally rock the Dying Swan act, but they don't usually hurt people - look at the Netherlands-Portugal game, Costinha was booked for a hand ball, Deco got sent off for picking up the ball and walking away with it. Childish and irritating, yes, but not dangerous. Boulahrouz's kick to Ronaldo's leg, though, that could have had some serious consequences. But the Italians do both - they can dish it out, but they can't take it. Hypocrisy. Argh.

I have no general objections to violence in sport - I think it's an essential part of hockey, rugby, or American football, all of which I love watching. But I don't think it belongs in a soccer game, and if the Italians are going to pretend they're hockey players, they should do like the Dutch and at least be men about it.

Hm, so yes the Italians are better at what they do - but I don't think what they do belongs in a soccer game. Besides, Italy is up to its ears in a match-fixing scandal right now, and, I heard over at Bitch, Ph.D that they're not showing any World Cup games on TV except the ones in which Italy plays. Sounds like they love themselves more than the game, if you ask me.

So now, England v. Portugal. Sorry Raindog, but I have to cross my fingers for Portugal this game. I like the England team fine (except for Crouch - WTF - hair pulling? What are you, an 8th-grade girl?), but their fans are making a right nuisance of themselves here in Germany, and we want them to go away.

Song du jour of the day: Só Sei Ser Feliz Assim, Portugal's entry in the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest. It bombed, iirc, but I liked it. It was cute.


samirah said...

1) Soccer is a sport and people get kicked and hit and knocked down, that's just the way it goes. And it absolutely belongs in soccer. I mean guys are running all over the place, jumping, heads crashing, legs flying through the air, getting hurt is a risk you take when you sign up to play.

2) They do not fake injuries! Far more often they get up and keep playing. How many times against the Ukraine did an Italian get knocked down or trip or something and just get right back up and keep running? A lot.

3) So what if they don't show German games or French games or any other games on tv in Italy? I've never seen anything but American baseball and basketball games on tv because I live in America.

4) Pessotto tried to commit suicide over the whole fixing thing. But I really think that has nothing to do with the world cup.

5) I'm wicked happy England is finally out!

Kevin Smith said...

Regarding Point one and two - Wait a minute, Italy doesn't fake injuries?! It's considered an accepted strategy in the sport outside the US and Italy has a reputation for internationally (coming from someone that used to play pick-up games with the Irish and South American populations in Boston).

The injury issue is an accepted strategy because it can potentially extend time and chances for a losing team, and allow a coach to adjust to a mismatch by getting the player who doesn't match up well off the field.

The one thing I came away with playing with my foreign counterparts is that the game is far different outside the US than inside - faster, more violent - but as far as violent sports go - soccer is pretty far down the list - behind Football, Rugby, Australian Football, hockey, and baseball - I've even seen more violent collisions in basketball.

As for point three - What each country shows on television ultimately is determined by ratings and advertising. It's the reason the Tour De France is on a cable station here in the states that most people don't even get and why hockey has been relegated to that same channel. If Italian television producers don't think that out of country soccer sells, then it's not going to make the programming.

Point four, no real comment on Pessotto specifically, but the fixing, and the fact that at least one of the refs involved in the scandal is involved in the world cup...well, that doesn't reflect well on the organizers of the cup. A ref involved in that sort of scandal shouldn't be allowed near the cup games, it puts any game that person refs into question, whether they've been clean for two years or not.

And no, I'm not biased against Italy - I still have family over there in Abruzzi - and I'm neither for nor against Germany. But, the football comment stuck with me and in regards to that - is it likely that NFL players will, at times fake an injury - yes, but it's far rarer there than in soccer. NFL players are dealing with a 49 man game day roster and are fighting for playing time, as such, the players don't want to come off the field.If coaching staff has to come out the player has to come off, for at least one play. If it happens inside the 2 minute warning, the team forfeits a time-out - which is why you'll see injured players inside the last two minutes limping off the field rather than laying on it waiting for the trainers.
Injury in the NFL is often viewed as a sign of the weak or fragile - reputations that no player wants to be stuck with - It's why Reggie White played four games with a torn hamstring, Brett Favre ended up addicted to painkillers, and Drew Bledsoe played two games with a screw sticking out of the end of his index finger on his throwing hand and went back into a game after shearing an artery in his chest (not the brightest move, granted).

samirah said...

I'm half Italian (my dad is from Rome) so I feel compelled to defend my people. Besides I really, honestly, don't think they play dirty. At least not any more so then any other teams. France was throwing themselves on Brazil today and kicking them and a few times they even grabbed players and held on. So Italy's normal.

Kevin Smith said...

Nothing wrong with national pride - my mother's family is from Italy. I just choose not to look at the teams through rose-colored glasses. I'm very proud of my Italian herritage, doesn't mean that I'm going to go around saying Mussolini wasn't a bastard...The Italian team didn't earn that reputation accidently. Is it overblown? Possibly, but they still did something to earn the reputation and Alala in Germany isn't the only one that has heard it.

Curious, tho - I spent a season as the beat-writer for a suburban weekly covering the Philadelphia Charge when the Women's United Soccer Association was still playing, and the "faking injury" allegations never came up in women's soccer.

'nuff said.

alala said...

Wow, Kev, thanks! There was a lot I didn't know in your first comment, very interesting. You're my go-to guy for sports questions from now on.

Samirah, I'm sorry I seemed to be attacking Italy, that wasn't my intent. Italy has my favorite food, my favorite music, and some of my favorite architecture. And I agree that all soccer teams misbehave to some extent, I just think the Italian national team does it to excess, purely as a matter of opinion. Other people hate the Portuguese team for being such a bunch of drama queens - we all set our own limits, and agree to disagree. I hope we can do the same, and I'm sorry for upsetting you.

samirah said...

Haha, you didn't upset me! I like to argue, I'm Jewish.