World Cup: ref hands Italy victory against Australia

, posted: 27-Jun-2006 08:03

If you didn't already think the World Cup is a badly refereed farce, the Italy-Australia game will have made up your mind for you. As predicted, the Azzurri resorted to method acting instead of playing football and were rewarded by a match-deciding penalty from referee Cantalejo. The game was in injury time, but Francesco Totti didn't waver and coolly put the ball past Mark Schwarzer in the Australian goal.

The Socceroos didn't deserve to be knocked out in this random manner, and definitely not by an Italian team that employed a strategy of diving at the smallest challenge while playing dirty themselves. Materazzi's red card in the beginning of the second half was well-deserved: he tried to spike Bresciano but missed, luckily. Italy played with only 10 men after Materazzi being sent off, but the Australians weren't able to make use of their superior numbers, probably because star striker Harry Kewell was on the bench, injured yet again.

Either way, it was a great World Cup for the Australians. They can go home with their heads held high knowing that they arguably tried the hardest of all teams. Next time around, a team with more depth and less dependent on just a few attackers should be able to go even further in international events.

The Italians on the other hand should thank their lucky stars, not only for the dubious penalty against Australia, but also for the way the tournament has turned out. Italy will be playing against either Switzerland or Ukraine in the next round - I'm tipping it'll be the Swiss by the looks of the 0-0 game so far. Unfortunately, I don't see either Switzerland or Ukraine being able to keep the Gli Attori at bay, so Italy will likely march on. Not particularly good for the game, that.

UPDATE Ukraine - Switzerland went to penalty shoot-out as the game stood at 0-0 at the end. The Swiss missed all the penalty kicks, but Ukraine kept the nerves steady and put three in the net. 3-0 to Ukraine, who will play Italy in the quarter finals.

Thanks to Gloria for the Actori/Attori correction. :)
Update II Clips of the challenge and penalty below:

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