May 16, 2006

Italian Football Association placed in emergency administration : On Sunday, Juventus were crowned as champions of Italy. On Monday, their General Manager Luciano Moggi offically resigned, along with the entire board of directors. Now Italy's famous straight-arrow Silvio Berlusconi is demanding Juve be stripped of their last two titles, in favour of the team he owns, even though Milan themselves are one of four Serie A teams under investigation in match-fixing allegations.

posted by Mr Bismarck to soccer at 10:03 PM - 14 comments

Could you imagine Juventus and AC Milan demoted to Serie B over these scandals. Talk about stupidity!

posted by billsaysthis at 10:26 PM on May 16

Wait a minute, you mean Liverpool didn't have to go through all that crap against Milan in the Champions League final last season? Just kidding.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:58 PM on May 16

And wait a minute, corruption in Italian football? No way! btw, does this compromise any of the Italian national team and staff, especially this close to the World Cup? I mean, this might be USA's best chance evar!

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:59 PM on May 16

"Could you imagine Juventus and AC Milan demoted to Serie B over these scandals." Bit like when Lazio and Milan were relegated in 1980 over a similar scandal. Or Genoa just last season ..

posted by walrus at 06:02 AM on May 17

I was thinking the same thing, worldcup2002 ... Will this affect the Italian national team at all? I think they'll have a tough time getting out of the group at the World Cup anyway, but if they lose any players to suspension or are generally distracted, it might be impossible to make the round of 16. For the record, USA faces a much bigger threat from Czech Republic than from Italy, frankly.

posted by rgchappell at 12:03 PM on May 17

I don't think this will cause any problems at all for the Italian national side. If any of the players are involved in the scandal then there isn't time for any investigation to complete to the stage where they'll be removed from the squad. I know that Buffon has been interviewed, but as far as I know, that's it. I certainly can't see it changing the expected one-two at the top of their World Cup group. Watch for the Czechs and Italians to go through. On a side note, in the 1982 World Cup, Italian Forward Paolo Rossi came back from a two year ban for match fixing and scored a hattrick in a 3-2 win over Brazil - a game that remains one of my favourite world cup matches of all time. Italy would probably face Brazil in round two if they finished second in their group.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:13 PM on May 17

Watch for the Czechs and Italians to go through. I beg to differ. While it may just be wishful thinking on my part, the FIFA rankings can't be that far off ... I anticipate the Czechs (ranked 2 in the world) to come out on top and the Americans (ranked 4) to come out second. (Italy is currently ranked 14.) Then Brazil will quickly dispatch the US, but that's ok I guess.

posted by rgchappell at 02:30 PM on May 17

the FIFA rankings can't be that far off BWAHAHAHA!!!!

posted by salmacis at 02:39 PM on May 17

err, yeah. That'll be the Italians who embarrassed the Germans who embarrassed the US, right? Anything can happen in football, (see: Greek trophy cabinet), but putting any too much weight on the FIFA rankings is asking for trouble. Or, what salmacis said.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:49 PM on May 17

Italy are my favourites to win it this year, actually. They're the form side at the moment and they play with great balance. South American teams are notiorious for not winning in Europe and for me Italy are the best European team at the right time.

posted by walrus at 04:10 PM on May 17

Anything can happen in football, (see: Greek trophy cabinet), but putting any too much weight on the FIFA rankings is asking for trouble. True enough. But I do believe the Americans are also playing with good balance and excellent speed on the wings, strong defense and of course Keller is one of the best in the business. They can beat Italy. I'm not sure that they WILL beat Italy, but they CAN. By the way when Germany spanked the US it was with all of our second-stringers. Four or five of our regular starters had club commitments for that game. Also, I agree with Walrus that Brazil are hardly a shoe-in to win, considering it's in Europe, but I do think Braxil would win a second-round matchup with the US.

posted by rgchappell at 06:14 AM on May 18

Will this affect the Italian national team at all? Remains to be seen. Lippi is scheduled for an interview this Friday and I believe they interviewed his son yesterday as well as Alessandro Nesta and someone else who's name escapes me at the moment. This scandal is huge: it is currently eclipsing Prodi's new government in terms of news coverage. I think last night's report said that Moggi made an average of 400+ calls from his cell phone a day. That said, Berlusconi is a media whore who loves to cry victim; as his governement exunts stage right he'll cry foul at the drop of a hat (bit surprised he didn't find a way to blame the left for this one, really...). A tally of the suspect games featured on muckracking program Strisica la Notizia last night showed that Milian profited from shitty/rigged reffing almost as much as Juve. As a juventina I say f*ck Moggi. And in terms of this year's scudetto, the first half of the season Juve was tops; the second half made me rip my hair out in frustration. Roma, a squad I detest, deserved mad props for a record breaking winning streak and playing most of the second half of the season with no attackers and the same 11 players game after game.

posted by romakimmy at 06:18 AM on May 18

By the way when Germany spanked the US it was with all of our second-stringers. Four or five of our regular starters had club commitments for that game. Ok, that's fine and I'm hardly one to put too much weight on a friendly, but after the Germans spanked you, second string or not, a virtually full German side got turned over by the Italians, 4-1. The German starting eleven that day featured Lehman, Friedrich, Huth, Lahm, Mertsacker, Ballack, Frings, Schneider, Klose and Podolski - 10 players who are in the final squad for the world cup. Seb Deisler was the only starter that day who didn't make the finals squad and that's because of injury. So the question is, if you have those "four or five" players back how much closer are you to a German side that beat you 4-1 and then, more importantly, how much closer are you to the Italians who beat that German side 4-1? Look, I'm not trying to be a stereotypical European troglodyte clinging onto the idea that "the yanks can't play football" - I'm English, I have no affection for the Germans, or the Italians or the Ghanians, (and only a little for the Czechs, since I fell for them in '96), so it's not some blind love of the teams the US will face, but to use the FIFA rankings as some sort of beacon of improvement while ignoring results is naive. If we start to add some numbers here, we see that the US' rise to allegedly the fifth best team in the world is based on a useful 02 World Cup and then the canter through a CONCACAF group including Panama, Jamaica, and El Salvador. Recent positive friendly results against Poland, Japan and Norway have seen the US ranking drop... I would love to see the Americans make it out of their group, because it would mean one seriously dangerous team out at the group stage, but the Czechs are one of my dark horses, (especially if Nedved still has some legs), and the Italians looked pretty good in big wins over the Dutch and Germans. To finally drag this (too) long post back toward the topic, the Italians may be an even tougher proposition to face, as Coach Marcello Lippi is telling his players that they need a successful world cup to repair the tarnished reputation of Italian football. "We want to take the name of Italian football to make it at the highest level. We know we have this responsibility - we hope to feed the enthusiasm with good results at the World Cup.'' Maybe the match fixing scandal is making things worse for Italy's opposition, not better.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:26 AM on May 18

I would suggest that playing the Germans in Germany, as the US did, with the crowd screaming for a result after a pitiful first half, is not the same as the US playing Italy in Germany where, for all I know, we'd get more crowd support than the Azzuri.

posted by billsaysthis at 08:43 PM on May 18

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