What We Learned From Italy vs Paraguay (1-1)

Dirty, Dirty, Dirty And We’re Not Talking About The Italians

At last! We have found the heirs to the spiritual vacuum that was the Old Skool Argentinian teams, whose kick and trip footballing philosophy bears more resemblance to World Wildlife Wrestling than it does to the beautiful game. You know you’re in the presence of bruisers when the first tackle is a super-friendly shin-splitter on the opponent’s mdifield dynamo. Kerpow! Take that vaguely talented Italian midfielder, that’s your introduction to the World Cup, let’s hope a good old-fashioned six-stud football tattoo will stop you ‘expressing yourself’ (in any way other than crying like a baby obviously). And it didn’t stop there. We all thought that it would be the Greeks who ‘brought the pain’ to the World Cup, but frankly the Paraguayayayayans have them beaten hands down. Every single tackle came with an optional extra of a stud-rake down the back of the leg, an elbow in the face and some kind of shirt holding. Quite impressively the ref failed to see any of it.

Lippi Proved His Managerial Mettle

If goals change games, then the only thing a manager can do once their team is one down is amend the side via substitutions and tactical changes. Lippi showed that he was capable of doing both by adding old Juve scrote Calamarioneisi. Now I haven’t laughed so much in a football match since Calamarioneisi came over to play Arsenal in the Champions League along with Juventus and Patrick Viera and was roundly taught a lesson by a very young Cesc Fabregas that culminated in his being utterly humiliated, then sent off. Here, years later, he was a real game-changer, putting together Italy’s most threatening attack within seconds of getting into the match . His presence opened up the width of the pitch and seemed to galvanise the Italians. One imagines he will be starting the next game.

Engerland Not The Only Team Carrying Damaged Baggage

Although if you were given the choice between taking a half-fit Buffon (still one of the best goalkeepers in the world) and a half-fit Ledley Kneeknack (still one of the best Enlglish central defenders at Tottingham), I know which one I’d take a risk on and which one was an invitation to utter ridicule. Still, if we really stretch the envelope we can see that Engerland aren’t the only team with problems.

11 Down 53 To Go