Thursday, July 06, 2006

Forza Italia

The Italians are in the World Cup Finals.

As the curtains of the exciting semi-final came to a close, it was the Germans who were left with the heart break. All 50,000 of them plus the 11 men and coach, who were on the field, made the short journey home. Now, the host country will play no more part in this competition as Italy leaves it to the death to win the match again.

Similarly to the game against the Australians, the Italians awoke from their slumber on in the remaining minutes of the match. The difference is the Italians left it to extra time instead of regulation time to win this one.

And how coincidental that it was this man, Fabio Grosso, who was the main Michelangelo again. Gifted with the ball in the dying seconds of extra time, Grosso controlled it brilliantly before lashing a superb left footed curler that beat the almost impregnable Lehmann in the German goal. How cruel.

How cruel that the man who broke the German hearts was the same man whom broke the heart of the Australians as well. Grosso is fast becoming a man to watch this World Cup.

Like always, the Italians were masterful at the back and relied on the counter attack to produce the goals to send them through to the next round. The Germans tried to dictate the game and attack but the fabulous Cannavaro repelled everything that the germans gave.

So, with the clock ticking down, the Germans finally breached the amazing firewall that Cannavaro provides only to be denied by the safest hands in the world, Buffon. As Podolski raced past the oft reliable centre duo of Cannavaro and Materazzi, the Italian goalkeeper produced the save of his life to keep the Italians in the game.

Prior to that, the referee mysteriously failed to award the Germans an obvious penalty after Cannavaro fouled Podolski and instead gave a direct free kick. The Germans should have seen that this may not be their night.

As the game wore on, the fatigue set in. Or so we apparently thought. The Germans were obviously playing for spot kicks. They were after all, so famously successful in it. The Italians had other ideas.

Andrea Pirlo wowed the crowd with a classic 'no look' pass( Ronaldhino are you watching?) and Grosso hammered the first nail into the German coffin. The Germans panicked. With roughly two minutes left to reply, Germany threw practically everyone forward and Italy smacked them with another suckerpunch.

A swift counter-attack and another 'no look' pass, this time from Gilardino, release Del Piero who curled a right footer pass the helpless Lehmann who could only watch in frustration. Game over. the Italians were celebrating like they have won the World Cup. A stunned silence befell over the German fans as plans for a massive celebration after the game went awry.

A left footed and a right footed goal. Struck with such perfection. In a match so evenly contested, something special had to be conjured to win the game. And the Italians produced it.

With the corruption scandal hanging over their head as an albatross, the Italians need this World Cup win badly. Come Sunday night, the Italians should lift it. After all this will be consolation for most of the players who may go back to relegated clubs. Unless... France or Portugal has other ideas? We await in eager anticipation.

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