Friday, June 25, 2010

Italy vs. Slovakia in pictures... thoughts on the match?

So Italy is on their way home after a dismal performance at the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

All in all Italy did not put on the much-anticipated performance of the World Champion Azzurri team that took the trophy in 2006.
They did not really shape up in the first half, and only kicked into gear once they were 2-0 down!
We had some superb seats, and had the privilege of being positioned right behind the Italian bench - a great spot from which to watch a nervously-pacing Buffon... :)

Granted, again - Italy did not play well and did not really deserve to go through. Even so, a fair dig must be made at the Slovakia keeper, who messed around a great deal (that's putting it nicely) during the second half especially.
From rolling on the ground for no apparent reason (with an impatient ref hovering above him, ordering him up), to frolicking around in the corner of the net after the second Italian goal, to generally wasting huge wads of time (yes yes I know that this is just "part of the game"), from my perspective at least, his performance was decidedly un-sporting and unprofessional.
I have seen replays of the alleged "punch in the face" in the Slovakian goals - sure the punch did not look quite strong enough to floor the Italian player, but watching the game live from the sidelines, you could sense that the goalie was just doing his best to stuff around, for want of a more insulting term to use.

Again, soccer lovers out there will be quick to point out that all of this is, and always has been a part of the game of soccer, but it sure is a bitter pill to have to swallow when your team are on the receiving end.
So it's Buon Viaggio to the Azzurri, and congratulations to Slovakia :)

Here are a few snaps I took while at the action-packed game:
Early birds... the place was empty when we got there :)

Canavarro and the boys checking out the pitch before the game.

Singing their songs...

Marchetti warming up, not that it did him any good...

Buffon looking confident for his team... before the game that is!

Pirlo on the field before the game.

Lippi offers up some advice to Fabio Quagliarella at half time.

The eyes say it all... the Italian bench was a picture of despair towards the end of the game.

Too little, too late, as Pirlo warms up to try and salvage the game for the Azzurri...

Buffon leaning heavily on the drinks bin as he watches his boys go down.

2nd-Half action.

Last minute action...

It's almost over as Buffon and Gatusso share a few (nervous) words...

Pointing into the air 'aint gonna change nothing Mr. Gatusso!


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