June 18, 2002

Italy cries foul!: After losing to Korea 2-1, Italian politicians, newscasters, and just about everyone else is crying "Conspiracy!" and even going so far as to suggest that somebody paid off the Ecuadoran referee to basically fix the match. So, is there something here? Or are the Italians just poor losers?

posted by Bixby23 to football at 11:26 AM - 23 comments

Really bad call by the ref, Italy did get hosed. Whether it was done on purpose or not, who knows. BUT...Italy -- specifically, Vieri -- should be pointing fingers at themselves, not the refs. If Vieri hadn't blown such an easy sitter at the end of the 2nd half (in extra time), the controversial call would never had been an issue. So chalk it up as a blown opportunity in the closing seconds, plus his taunting after scoring 18 minutes in. (nothing like taunting the fans coming back to bite you in the butt...) Oh yeah, and of course, I guess we should credit South Korea's 12th man, right?!?

posted by rosey8810 at 11:46 AM on June 18, 2002

I'm sick of these poor losers, also. Portugal were particularly bad. I've also heard incredible whinging from the Spanish, Argentines, Turks and Mexicans. Mistakes happen. Referees make mistakes, but so do players. I've not yet seen one player, not even Maradona at his peak, who played a flawless game. Why should referees and assistant referees be held up to a different standard?

posted by salmacis at 12:02 PM on June 18, 2002

Yeah, I'm sick of poor losers too. Well... they really only have themselves to blame. They should have finished Korea off instead of simply retreating to their penalty area. But I understand their anguish since this was their best match so far in the tournament. Maybe this will convince them to get rid of their awful catenaccio style, who knows? But I understand why the ref would have been disposed to call this a dive since Totti had been diving like a submarine captain all match. But still, the second yellow was harsh. However, no matter how you look at it (except if you're Italian) the Koreans fully deserved to win.

posted by Kattullus at 12:11 PM on June 18, 2002

Its understandably frustrating that in EVERY game Italy played in this Cup they were playing against their opponents, the ref, and the linesmen.

posted by Voyageman at 12:16 PM on June 18, 2002

In my (admittedly ACC-centric) world we call this 'terping.' :) And yes, it is irritating as hell, coming from either Italy or College Park.

posted by tieguy at 12:24 PM on June 18, 2002

It's poor losing. Referees and bad luck are part of the mix. Salmacis is absolutely right. It's shockingly rude, counter-productive and stupid. It's presumably intended to placate the fans at home but all it does is piss them off. If the Portuguese team had been a little more dignified in defeat, i.e. not shaming their country, there'd have been some sympathy for them here in Portugal. It's a Latin thing, i.e. the part of association football they skipped over. It doesn't help that you Brits and other Northerners keep telling us what great players we are. ;)

posted by Miguel Cardoso at 12:58 PM on June 18, 2002

Well, Miguel, that's until England beats Brazil. :-) Go Owen, Heskey, Scholes, Beckham, Butt, Sinclair, Mills, Ferdinand, Campbell, Cole and Seaman (that's who I'm guessing will start)!

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:26 PM on June 18, 2002

I've just seen the highlights so now feel qualified to comment. The sending off of Totti looked a little harsh, but he'd been diving all game so you could argue it was justified in terms of cumulative cheating. The Italian "goal" ruled out for offside was a borderline decision, the kind which go both ways depending on your luck. In football the general wisdom is that these things "balance themselves out". Italy do seem to have been unfortunate with the number of these decisions they've had go against them though. I'm tempted to say who cares? They bring it on themselves by trying to protect a one goal lead. They had enough good chances to win the game easily, who knows how many more would they have had if they'd played in a positive manner?

posted by squealy at 01:50 PM on June 18, 2002

I just saw it on Univision- definitely a bad call. The Italians have only themselves to blame for it, though, with so many missed opportunities in the second half and such a defensive strategy. Soccer is a game where little breaks can make or break you if you aren't dominant, and Italy practically chose not to be dominant. They should suck it up.

posted by tieguy at 02:27 PM on June 18, 2002

I felt sorry for Italy when good decisions went against them versus Croatia but thats because I hate Croatia. I don't feel sorry for them now though. Once again a so called power of the game reacts with disbelief and astonishment that they should lose. Some Italian of high rank said as much " how can this happen to a country like Italy" or some such. Spoilt brats, good riddance. On the other hand, it is refreshing to see some honest emotion expressed rather than vacuous platitudes. I wasn't aware that Spain had been bad losers given that they have yet to lose. I was aware that Camacho went off on one after becoming frustrated at all the references to unlucky Ireland. He had a point. Everyone is going on about unlucky Ireland. They were a shoot out away from the quarter finals, yet managed only one victory in the whole tournament, against Saudi Arabia. If there is a prize for hyperbole they will piss it.

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:41 PM on June 18, 2002

What the hell was Badly Drawn Boy doing in midfield for Italy?

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:58 PM on June 18, 2002

all i know is that mexico's team consists of a bunch of really sore losers. i don't know if that's prevalent througout the world cup teams. but, please. whining that the US team "didn't really play to win, but not to lose (they just got lucky)"? whatever.

posted by moz at 02:59 PM on June 18, 2002

Definitely a harsh call on Totti. But, he was acting more than he was playing football so I don't feel so bad for him. I remember the announcer on ESPN, Jack Edwards, make a mention of the yellow card on Totti and the fact that the ref was from Ecuador. He then mentioned that Ecuador and Italy were in the same group. He went on to say that there was no connection or that he wasn't suggesting revenge, but instead that it was quite a coincidence. Well, then why'd you mention it Jack?

posted by armando at 03:06 PM on June 18, 2002

miguel: perhaps the Portuguese fans could learn something from these people. Don't ya just love the Oirish? :-)

posted by squealy at 03:15 PM on June 18, 2002

And, forgive me, but the American public could easily learn something about the love of "soccer" from these South Koreans gathering to watch the game on big screens. Amazing!!

posted by squealy at 03:21 PM on June 18, 2002

Stare at the picture .....and simply imagine if the Ecuadorian ref had unjustly booted out a Korean attacker and unjustly cancelled a Korean golden goal....no pressure, no pressure whatsover

posted by Voyageman at 03:33 PM on June 18, 2002

Cancel a golden goal? What? The offside was called immediately, and the Korean defender and keeper stopped playing, whereas the Italian player (Tommasi, if I'm not mistaken) purposefully continued his run around the static Korean keeper and then flipped the ball into an undefended net. That's hardly a goal in my book. More like provocation. In hockey, when a player takes a shot after a whistle, an automatic brawl ensues, with good reason. On the other hand, Totti's yellow was a little bit extreme, although it was a call made on the good side. It was diving, not a foul. And Vieri had about 4 chances at closing that game. So blah to the Italians. They may be the best looking players, but they need to learn manners.

posted by qbert72 at 11:27 PM on June 18, 2002

"In overtime, key playmaker Francesco Totti fell in the penalty area, and Moreno reached for the yellow, believing Totti dived. But the ref apparently forgot when making that decision that Totti received a yellow earlier and therefore had to be sent off. It was only on the prompting of the Korean players that he pulled out the red." Gleaned from an AP article. Has anyone else read that Ref Moreno "apparently forgot" that he had already given Totti a yellow card? Oh sure, all those Italians look alike, right? And the suggestion that Moreno was not going to pull the red card on Totti until some Koreans came over and...and what? Cajoled? Threatened? Sounds to me like the article may have been written by a bitter AP writer/Italy fan (or maybe he just bet on them). Poor writing in any case. No?

posted by Bixby23 at 12:55 AM on June 19, 2002

Much as it goes against the grain to defend Italy, Totti had beaten their defence all ends up and would have scored regardless. I also believe the ref had no idea at the time he pulled the card out that Totti had already been booked. He appeared to shit himself somewhat when he realised.

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:42 AM on June 19, 2002

So what if the ref forgot that he'd given Totti a yellow card before? Should that make a difference? I mean, if I fouled someone earlier in the game in a dangerous manner and got a yellow card, does that mean I get a "free one" in the 2nd half because the ref doesn't want to give me a red card? Does it mean I can continue with some dangerous tackles, or "simulate" to my heart's content because the ref is scared to give me a 2nd yellow? If anything, I would be quite happy to know that the ref forgot about the previous yellow card. It would mean that in his eyes, Totti definitely deserved the 2nd yellow. He got the yellow because the moment the Korean player came close to him the in the box, he gave up trying to score a goal and instead decided to draw a foul. It looked VERY obvious when I watched the play for the first time last night (replay on TSN) that he flopped (and in a bad way too).

posted by grum@work at 07:15 AM on June 19, 2002

As a follow-up, the scorer of the golden goal, Ahn Jung-hwan, has had his contract terminated at Perugia. Looks like he was set to be released anyway, but there's nothing like a bit of righteous indignation.

posted by etagloh at 09:08 AM on June 19, 2002

Totti deserved it for cumulative infringements. He'd twatted a Korean defender & got away with it & had been going down like a porn star on piece rates throughout the game. More Italian hilarity here In answer to the original question...YES!

posted by i_cola at 09:23 AM on June 19, 2002

I thought only French judges got paid off...

posted by adampsyche at 10:37 AM on June 19, 2002

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