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  • 10 Funny Reasons a Conspiracy Against Italian Soccer is Credible
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    JUNE 27, 2004 - Rising soccer star Antonio Cassano went from joy to sorrow in mere seconds last week after he scored a beauty of a goal that gave Italy a 2 to 1 victory over Bulgaria in the last minute of Italy's Euro 2004 game. Sweden had just tied Denmark 2 to 2, a result that assured both Nordic countries would get through to the quarterfinals, and Italy would go home. (Three of the four teams in that group - Sweden, Denmark and Italy - had 5 points, so goal differential was used to break the tie.) Many of the Italian players and coaches smelled foul play and suggested the Danes and Swedes fixed the match. Both sides deny it. Regardless of the truth, I for one am sick and tired of shedding tears for Italy's national soccer team. I thought we could all use a good laugh instead. So, without further a do, here are the 10 reasons why a conspiracy against our boys is credible:

    10. In Italy's first Euro 2004 game against Denmark, a player cam caught Italy's number 10 Francesco Totti spitting on a Dane. Totti was suspended for three games after the Danes turned in the evidence. It's understandable. The Danes were taunting him because they had our best interest at heart. They were worried the Italian public was running out of jokes about Totti, the country's number one laughing stock.

    9. Anyone who watches Convenscion, Italy's Saturday Night Live-like show, or any Milan game for that matter knows that defender Alessandro Nesta can be a bit of a baby at times. The other teams just couldn't take another second of his whining. "Ma dai!"

    8. Our players are convinced that the Denmark-Sweden match was a sham - and we should know. After all, a bunch of Italian players are being accused of fixing Serie A games right at this very minute. And, yes, Italy is the home of Machiavelli. So, we know what you're up to even before you do!

    7. No one wanted to hear goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon sing another verse. He has a habit of doing that when he's nervous. Even worse, if anyone started arguing near the box, Buffon might hug him. He has a habit of doing that when anyone else is nervous.

    6. The other teams are jealous. The Italians are much prettier - and have much more stylish uniforms - than anybody else. So there!

    5. Our rivals didn't want to take time away from Gennaro Gattuso's other commitments like scaring little children and yelling loud and often. They don't call him the "hit man" for nothing.

    4. Italy's departure was the only way to guarantee that striker Christian Vieri would stomp out of a press conference in a brilliant exit that was part-Godzilla, part-Fosse. The top-rated soap opera that is Italian soccer lives. Thank the heavens!

    3. If Italy actually won something, whatever would the press have to write about?

    2. Our opponents are afraid of us. Who can blame them? We have the universe's best goalkeeper Buffon, a stacked Fabio Cannavaro, a whiny but effective (and lovable) Alessandro Nesta and the underrated but fabulously energetic Gianluca Zambrotta.

    1. Everyone wanted to give us an excuse for a fresh start. With Marcello Lippi taking the reigns from Giovanni Trapattoni and youngsters like Cassano and Alberto Gilardino ready to wear blue, the world better watch out. Next time, it won't be so easy to get rid of us.

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