Niente Coppa del Mondo
Italy, a nation that holds soccer so close to their national identity, has not made the world cup for the first time since 1958. Italian newspapers are headlining “national shame”, “Apocalypse”, “goodbye, world cup”, “a historic gaffe”. Italy has won the world cup four times before. Last world cup, they were eliminated in the first round. This was a huge setback for the future of Italian national soccer. For a nation that is so tied to soccer, their loss was proven to be a crisis.
Italy lost their qualifying game to Sweden. A highly anticipated match that Italy was expected to win. The two teams proved they were both there to win. Many yellow cards were given to players who were fouling and talking back to the ref. Even In the first 10 minutes, there were questionable tackles that could have been penalties. Each team had a number of hand balls inside their own box that the ref could clearly see and decided not to call. Nobody knows why. Italy had to come away with a win to advance to the world cup and Sweden only needed a tie.
Italy had a number of chances off of crosses in the second half with two being just wide of the goal frame and one a solid save by the Swedish keeper. There were also many fouls inside both teams boxes which should have been penalties. The best example of this was when a Swedish defender put his knee into an Italian attacker’s stomach and knocked him to the ground. If that isn’t a foul then I don’t know what is.
The match finished with an unbelievable score of 0-0. The Italian team was immediately filled with sadness and disappointment. Their goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, a well known and considered legendary goalkeeper, announced his retirement from international soccer. Props to Sweden for a well-fought game.