Archive for October, 2008

Russia 1-2 Italy: Third Place Consolation Prize for the Azzurri (FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008)

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

After their disappointing and controversial loss in the semi-finals, Italy grabbed the bronze medal in the FIFA Futsal World Cup Third Place final against Russia Saturday. It was hard-fought match full of spectacular plays, in which the Azzurri obtained their 2-1 win thanks to a last-minute goal by Saad Assis.

Nevertheless, one can’t help but think that under different circumstances, this team could have made a serious contention for the title tomorrow. In the end, Italy will not be remembered for their good third place ranking, but rather for being denied a chance to play for the gold.

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Spain 3-2 Italy: Overtime Slap in the Face, Azzurri Title Hopes Crushed in Semi-Finals (FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008)

Friday, October 17th, 2008

As far as Spain vs. Italy goes, sure isn’t a good year for Italian fans. First, there was the UEFA Futsal Euro 2007 final (lost 3-1)… then this Summer’s Euro 2008 quarter-finals story we all know. Now, for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008 Semi-Finals and for the third time in less than a year, a Furia Roja team got the upper hand on the Azzurri.

This time however the slap in the face couldn’t have been bigger, because Italy lost 3-2 in overtime: a match which the Azzurri deserved to win, and by the looks of Spain’s last goal, really did not deserve to lose.

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Serie A Odds ‘n Ends – A Tribute to Martha

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Those of you who have been reading the Italy Offside blog longer than 8 months now, know that February 13, 2008, was a sad date for Serie A fans worldwide. On that day, one of the greatest and most entertaining bloggers I’ve ever had the pleasure to read stepped down from her post, leaving hundreds and hundreds of readers (I’m exaggerating… thousands!) in sorrow & despair. I am talking of course about Martha.

With her wit, humor and intelligence, Martha could take any Serie A story and put a funny spin on it. I mean she could really keep us entertained for hours on Alberto Gilardino celebrations… or Christian Vieri transfers… or Luis Figo rumours… or Christian Vieri muggings… or Azzurri match reports… or what Christian Vieri had for breakfast…

Yes, Martha likes Bobo. Some might even say she’s so infatuated with him that were she living in Bergamo at this moment (then again, maybe she is), things could rapidly take the turn of an ugly lawsuit for stalking and all the restraining orders that would go with it. But I digress.

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Italy 2-1 Montenegro: Aquilani Double Gives Marcello Lippi 30-Game Unbeaten Streak (World Cup 2010 Qualifiers)

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Lippi isn’t the kind of guy concerned with critique or running after world records, and I’m sure most of us here would agree getting three points out of a match (such as Italy did today against Montenegro) is the most important thing. Yet, it must come as great satisfaction when someone tells you you’ve officially achieved 30 consecutive matches unbeaten at the Azzurri helm, which puts you right up there with a legend like Vittorio Pozzo (for those unfamiliar with pre-World War II history, he was the World Cup winning coach in 1934 and 1938).

As for today’s match, it was without question a Giallorossi’s affair. Starting with the shirt Montenegro was wearing (red & yellow), the home stadium (Lecce, which traditionally wears those colours), and above all Alberto Aquilani: the Roma midfielder had not played this well since the match vs. Real Madrid back in March, and highlighted his performance by two goals (including his first ever for the Azzurri). Sprinkle a little bit of Mirko Vucinic in between (yet another Roma player), and the picture is complete.

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Israel 1-3 Italy: TurboMario & Abate Send the Azzurrini to Sweden! (U-21 Euro 2009 Playoff for Final Tournament)

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

After their 0-0 draw in Ancona, the Azzurrini needed an exploit… and they delivered. Casiraghi can really be proud of his boys tonight, as Italy’s U-21 team travelled to Tel-Aviv and defeated Israel U-21 with a score of 3-1, courtesy of a Balotelli double and a cherry on the cake by Abate. A really wonderful performance, in which the outcome of the game was never in doubt for a single second, thanks to the immediate “we’re in charge” attitude of the boys in blue (wearing white for the occasion).

And speaking of Balotelli, how ironic that in a day when the Azzurrini were missing important pieces like Dessena, Giovinco, Marchisio and Andreolli, the missing link turned out to a player who, not longer than two months ago, was not even considered eligible. A beast and the indiscussed leader of the Italian team tonight, TurboMario took the Azzurrini by hand and unleashed his goalscoring power, as indeed there is no better word to describe Balotelli’s executions landing into the back of the Israeli net.

Sixteen years after their 1992 triumph, which proclaimed Italy U-21 European Champions for the very first time, the Azzurrini will be returning to Sweden trying to emulate the performance of Cesare Maldini’s boys. Hallå Sverige!

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