Those should be the most ashamed 23 men in the world right now… Well, perhaps I’m being a little harsh. After all, not all 23 Italians played! ZING!
Honestly, what an utterly atrocious, embarrassing, pathetic, disrespectful, lamentable, lethargic, apathetic performance from the defending World Champions! I could go on and on with the adjectives, but that should suffice for now. If you want more, simply visit Thesaurus.com and type in “Italy.”
I think the word “disgrace” would encompass Italy’s showing the best. Few expected this Italian squad to be the third team in history to repeat their triumph of four years ago (the two teams, if you’re interested, where actually Italy in ’34 and ’38 and Brazil, of course, in ’58 and ’62), but a weakened squad is no excuse for the showing the Italians put on.
Had they crashed out of the tournament after working their asses off, I wouldn’t be so bothered. They literally looked like they didn’t want to be there in all three games, but especially today against Slovakia when their tournament life was on the line.
The first goal the Italians conceded was the immediate product of a simply non-thinking ball just outside their box. The second, the defense was completely asleep as a Slovak jogged his way toward the near post to finish, and the last, the most embarrassing of all, saw Slovakia throw the ball in to Kamil Kopunek from about 20 yards out as three Italians watch the ball bounce into the path of the opposing striker who rightfully sent the ex-champions packing.
Today against the Slovaks, they needed a win or a tie, depending on other results, to advance, but not until the 75th minute did the Italian side look interested. Perhaps they were still shell-shocked from their first two fixtures that didn’t go to plan, but knowing the global ridicule that would await them if they didn’t qualify for the knock-out stage, they still produced a dull, uninterested brand of football. You could have put a Tupperware of leftover lasagna out on the pitch instead of the Italian side and would have seen more intent and excitement to be playing on the world’s greatest stage.
Italy, if you just don’t want to play in the tournament at all, let FIFA know next time. There are countries who would literally hire assassins to kill to get into the tournament. Imagine what Ireland would have done with a spot in this year’s World Cup.
As bad as the French were, Italy were worse. France will still probably come out as more of an embarrassment to their country because of all the locker room drama, but Italy no doubt performed worse than les Bleus.
To start, France had, what I would call, one of the toughest groups in the tournament. Not that you need reminding, but it included a host country with one of the most impassioned fanbases the game will see, a very strong Mexican side and a Uruguay team that looks like one of the best in the tournament.
The is no doubt Italy’s group was the weakest. New Zealand was widely regarded as the weakest team in the tournament, and the Italians had to simulate a foul to get a penalty to draw against them! Paraguay Slovakia were two “meh”s going into the tournament, but massive applaud and congratulations to these two teams for acknowledging the privilege of participating in the World Cup and playing their hearts out for their countries. Who would have thought Italy would need to take cues on footballing mentality from Paraguay and Slovakia?
Though, there’s certainly a parallel to be drawn between Italy’s dreadful showing and that of France’s in 2002 when they managed zero goals and a lone point from another nil-nil tie to Uruguay while trying to defend their trophy.
The long and short of it? Italy were truly pathetic and should be ashamed to have wasted such an opportunity. Again, getting knocked out of the group stage is one thing, but to do so because you appear apathetic… that’s tragic for a nation.
Thanks, Italy, for giving the majority of the football world another reason to dislike you. Now dive, flop and writhe your way back home.