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Italy: The World Cup's Indianpolis Colts

Just like the Colts, Italy has become one of my more dispised teams in this world cup very quickly. The team has plenty of talent, but plays so soft that it offsets most of their giftedness. Serously, it's as if they spent a summer at the Vlade Divacs school of flopping.

If it weren't for a few favorable calls, they might not have even made the elimination round, let alone the quarterfinals. Against the U.S. they had more dives than the Italian swimming team, and several weak calls against the Americans took away a U.S. advantage (at a man up, 11-on-10) to an Italian advantage (a man up themselves, 10-on-9) where they were still being attacked upon. In reality, the Italians were the ones lucky to escape that game with a tie.

Move forward to this morning, where the Italians were backed into a corner by the Socceroos of Austrailia, but managing to hold the fort in a scoreless game. Then comes an extremely weak and questionable call against the Aussies in their own penalty box with 8 seconds remaining in regulation injury time. That turned into a penalty kick for the Italians, which they managed to drive home for the game winner. Nothing like handing the more reputable team the victory, huh?

So far, the World Cup officiating has been abysmal at best. I'm not sure that it's been bad enough for FIFA to go back and evaluate it and their general officiating practices, but more officials have had their names in the headlines than players.

In the meantime, I'll keep hoping that Italy gets oblitherated on their way in the tournament!

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