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Italy vs. Australia

A match that might be interesting for all the wrong reasons, really. First, I want to say that Italy's defense was strong and well-coordinated, maybe too much, as they ended up playing an extremely defensive game. Buffon and Schwarzer are both great goalkeepers, though in spite of how the numbers worked out, Buffon appeared to be the more overworked of the two. Australia played a good game, with admirably intuitive passes. Perhaps one of the more unusual things I noticed about this game was that Australia's style kept reminding me of Argentina, where the team in question probably weren't playing in their usual style again for their own game yesterday. Back to the numbers, it is interesting to note that Australia led ball possession, but Italy always managed to make more attempts at the goal. It was an interesting strategy, perhaps telling of the latter's experience. Whatever the cause, Italy held out with ten men for most of the second half, including extra time.

Having said that, Materazzi's red card, and the trip-that-wasn't by Neill at the end were both crucial errors in refereeing. Much as I would've liked to see Italy win, much as Totti' shot was good, I don't think Italy deserved to win that way. Interesting question to ask: what would've happened otherwise? Truth be told, I really think Italy and Australia were at a stalemate in terms of strength, though Italy was the technically stronger team. Don't shoot me yet. Italy did hold out against Australia with one man down and Australia at otherwise full strength. They did manage to get more shots at the goal, even with ten men. For 10 blue shirts to 11 yellows, they pulled down attack after attack on their own goal. I wouldn't have been surprised if it ended at a penalty shoot-out. But it didn't, and now we have to see if Italy will keep up this style of play for it's next match.

Portugal vs. Netherlands: Watched the replay for this in bits and pieces due to work. Did manage to see the last three red cards get handed out, but missed the one goal. Violent and bloody it was, but it was also a fast, hard spat.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 27th, 2006 07:46 am (UTC)
Of course I'm happy because Italy won, but I'm not satisfied with the way Italy won.
Good match, but as you say, I'm sure it would have ended with penalties. And we would have lost, we ALWAYS go home that way (=___=)
A fault of Italian players is that they can't be clear-headed for too long.
Buffon is the team. He can give directions to his mates, cheer them up, keep the morale high... a real captain, maybe better than the current one.
We couldn't even challenge Australia if it wasn't for his skills...
Jun. 27th, 2006 08:34 am (UTC)
I was wondering if you got to watch this! :)

I think if the game went on, it would also have gotten quite violent. Not as bad as Portugal vs. Netherlands, but I think both sides were very frustrated. No one liked the referee much. Still, I admire the Italian defense. The Australians were attacking so much, and with just 10 men, it was all they could do to swarm on any Australian who wandered too close. But that really didn't leave much room for an Italian attack, unfortunately. I kept noticing how Italian players would kick the ball into the Australian side, and there'd just be no one there to get it. :/

Australia also had better passing technique than the Italians. This is why I said Australia was playing an Argentinian style in how they carried the ball. That's probably another reason why the Italian side eventually resorted to just crowding the Australians until they couldn't move.

I agree, Buffon has the kind of goalie charisma I usually attach to people like Oliver Kahn or David Seaman. We're really lacking that kind of charismatic goalkeeper in this World Cup, though of course there is Buffon, and Kawaguchi from Japan was also interesting. It makes me sad, since I like goalkeepers!

And there's still the next match, against Ukraine. Something could still happen. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )