Music:the sound of the Modern Languages air conditioning
One thing I like about international soccer is that teams have such well-defined identities, often at odds with the stereotypes applied to the nations they represent. Italy is a great example, since they tend to be so disciplined and conservative on the pitch. Today's match with Australia exemplified their approach. Down a man for most of the second half, they bided their time, hoarding their energy until they had a chance to push the action forward with the prospect of success. When Grosso broke down the left flank at the end of injury time I said -- aloud, in the presence of the other fifteen people in the Student Union game room -- "They're going to score." Whether the way they scored was fair is another matter. But I have to give credit to Grosso for his effort, both at beating the first defender in his approach to the box and at selling what seemed to many to be a phantom foul by a second defender once he'd crossed the line. Overall, it was hardly an impressive showing by the Azzurri, but that's par for the course, since the Italians seem to prefer winning without doing much of anything that stands out. As anyone who has spent time living with Italians or people of Italian descent can tell you, that sort of restraint is not likely to be the first quality one ascribes to them. Of course, it may be that the national side's approach to soccer actually does a better job of capturing the reality of the Italian character than initially seems to be the case.