Outré, wild and crazy football: USA holds Italy….

Round 1:
Italy drew USA 1-1
Goals: Alberto Gilardino (Italy), Cristian Zaccardo (Italy – OG)

It was the most bizarre match of this World Cup so far! It had everything in it; goal, own goal, yellows, reds, attack, defence, good refereeing, poor refereeing, and of course, some ‘bloody’ incidents! To speak plainly, Italy deserved to win this one too. They were theTeam Italy better of the two sides, though USA played good football with only 9 men on the field. Yet again, the Italian defence belt was water-tight, and it needed the boots of one of their own defenders to break it! A weird attempt to keep the ball away from the net by Cristian Zaccardo decided the fate of the match. Though I am a fervid Italian supporter, I would say the referee was spot on giving a red card to Daniele De Rossi who used his elbow to hit down Brian McBride. The referee had no business to send off the Argentine-American Pablo Mastroeni. It was a very tight off-side call by the referee’s assistant to deny Gennaro Gattuso a goal within seconds of his entry to the match! Again, the substitutions made by Marcello Lippi shows the new levels of the Italian game; attack rather than defence, though it wasn’t fruitful. The good news for Italy is that both Gianluca Zambrotta and Gattuso are match-fit.

This draw leaves Group E wide open, concurring with my presumption that Group E is the real group of death. We will have to wait for the final two matches of the group to be played this Thursday to see which two teams advance through to the pre-quarters. A draw or win can ensure Italy of a place in the next round. Even if they lose to Czech Republic in their last match, technically they have a chance to go through. For that they should not lose by a big margin against the Czechs and that the USA needs to defeat or hold Ghana to a draw without a big difference in margin. But if the Czechs and Ghana win, then Italy will make the exit. It is sure that the Azzurris will not wait for the statistics to come into play like all other teams in the group. Everyone has a chance by winning their last game, but only two can win utmost! Wait for this Thursday for some fantastic football action!

Photo: FIFA

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