Italy trying to put spin on bad performance
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency
Italy's players celebrate after Daniele De Rossi scored against Paraguay. (REUTERS/Oleg Popov)
Port Elizabeth- What a monstrous bore.
It's the same old, same old.
In fact, you could probably pull stories done four years ago from some archive and see the same tripe.
The difference was four years ago Italy actually had the chance to improve. They weren't as old and deflated as the team in the 2010 World Cup.
Italy opened the defence of their soon-to-be-lost world championship with a 1-1 draw against Paraguay.
The situation followed the blueprint that has become standard for Italian teams.
Italy didn't play well until they fell behind 1-0. Then they did just enough to tie.
Their shortcomings were obvious to all.
When it was over, the Italian manager (fill in the blank, they are all the same) proceeded to say that his team played well, that it deserved to win, blah, blah, blah, blah.
In this case it was Marcello Lippi.
Having had the chance to reflect on the outing, he did his best to put a spin on the performance.
He can spin like a top but it isnít gong to work.
After saying that Italy deserved to win, he wanted to allay the shock most Italy felt at seeing their Azzurri in such desperate straits. Critics simply weren't surprised by the effort because they didn't expect much.
"We have to improve and I am sure we will," Lippi said.
"But, until now, I have not seen any World Cup team that is perfect."
He's spot on about the last part.
But at least the other guys have the potential to improve.
Where does Lippi's team improve but more importantly, who are they going to play to get better.
Midfielder Andrea Pirlo will return eventually. Even if he was in his prime, who does he find who can score.
Other than Giorgio Chiellini, is there another reliable back who can stand up to the speedy forwards on other teams when the Italians face them.
There was no silver lining on this could. Starting goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's back injury was classified as serious.
Buffon, 32, played only the first 45 minutes of the opening-game before being replaced by backup Federico Marchetti. He aggravated a sciatic nerve injury that was troubling him. He went on to say he would be back in two days.
That was before he was examined. The team doctor said Buffon was undergoing treatment and there was no date set for his return.
Meanwhile in Italy, Lippi is talking shots from all corners, including forward Antonio Cassano who Lippi dislikes and refuses to name to the team even though he's better than most of the attackers in South Africa.
ďI don't know what I have done to Lippi, maybe he doesn't like my personality,Ē Cassano said. "Others got picked, I didn't. I would be happy if Italy wins, but I will not be happy for Lippi.Ē
Cassano is childish, undisciplined and doesnít know when to shut up. But he sure can play.
It's hard to believe they could get worse so improving is a possibility but short of throwing caution to the wind and letting some untried players start, this is the Italy the tournament is going to get.
Oh my God, take me now.
For Italian fans and those who like good football, itís often not about winning or losing but about playing some sort of decent football. Play positively and play well and the results will take care of themselves.
Lippi canít do that because this team doesnít have the talent or the legs. He was told time and time again yet he stubbornly went about his business of thinking it was 2006 instead of 2010.
Heíll pay for in the end but then so will we.
We have to watch that dreck.