With the Dan Werner recruitment now over I can focus on what has become my most serious sports interest of the summer, the World Cup. As many of you that are young and hip likely did, I spent the afternoon watching the United States get jobbed against the Italians, outplaying them but only coming away with a 1-1 tie. The reason for this travesty was the crew of Uruguayan referees who kicked three players out, two of them Americans, when arguably all three were bad calls. The crew (who should have been named Jorge Bavetta, Jorge Clougherty and Jorge Hess) showcased the worst of Uruguay, a country that I know nothing about except they hosted and won the first World Cup in 1930 and are landlocked, a fact that was ingrained into my head as a child and like the knowledge that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, has done little for me since.
However I can get over bad refereeing. Anyone who has played sports, especially against Richie Farmer in Clay County can know that feeling. But what really makes soccer infuriating is the absurd culture of “diving”, the practice of faking an injury so that you can get a foul call. The soccer players on every country do this to some degree, but the Italians showed themselves today to be the worst. When not getting their greasy, stringy hair out of their eyes, the Italian team was flopping on the ground at all degree of contact. They would then grab their ankle, and like out of a 1920s silent film, a group of men would run on the field with a stretcher and take the prima donna off the field. Then IMMEDIATELY after getting back on the sideline, they would jump off the stretcher and run directly back on the pitch (little soccer lingo for you) showcasing no injury whatsoever. It is infuriating.
Look I love the Italian people. They have given us everything from pizza to canals to batteries to the mercury barometer to organized crime. They have given us some of the world culture greats from Michaelangelo to Da Vinci to Dante to Tony Danza. But this game showed that their soccer team is composed of a group of crybabies and whiners that would even make Alabama fans blush. I want soccer to catch on in America, but if it is going to, keep the Italians away…..oh i just heard that in order for the US to make it into the second round, they need to beat Ghana and Italy needs to beat the Czechs. VIVA ITALIA!!!