Thirty minutes until game time. Tonight’s blog coverage comes to you via a television feed delivered by our friends at the Syrian Broadcasting Service.
* Morris Iemma—his surname is Italian for “insurmountable traffic problems”—is supporting Australia, despite being a member of the ALP.
* Harry Kewell’s withdrawal is confirmed.
* DID YOU KNOW: That “I told you so” is an anagram of “I’d stool you”?
* Did Melbourne’s SBS reporter just say that “all the pizzas were flowing” at Lygon Street?
* Harry Kewell is on crutches. He should hold his damaged leg and scream for a few minutes; seems to cure everybody else.
* Time for Italy’s national anthem (winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, 1892).
* And now Australia’s anthem. Many Australians in the crowd.
* Pictures have dropped out. Either that or SBS didn’t appreciate my Syria gag.
* GAME UNDERWAY.
* Still no pictures. UPDATE: pictures back!
* DID YOU KNOW: That the slowest speed ever recorded on an Italian freeway is 118 mph? Driver Mario Spillotti’s excuse: “I was running early for a doctor’s appointment.” Ha! Tell it to the judge, Mario.
* Italian header misses. Free kick against Italy for shoving, groping, and pinching.
* Score still 0-0. Six of the Italian players’ names end in O. Could be an … O-men!
* Twelve minutes gone. A “DID YOU KNOW” from the match commentator: the Australian coach is nicknamed Lucky Guus; the Italian coach is known as Paul Newman. Not making this up.
* Not much going on. Three Australian players are smoking cigarettes.
* Goal saved by Australian keeper Shwarzer. Italian corner.
* Italian defence is fierce. So is attack; goal just saved again by Shwarzer.
* Viduka header neatly snared by Italian keeper.
* DID YOU KNOW: That two Italians were on Captain Cook’s Endeavour during its journey to Australia? (This might actually be true. I think I read it somewhere.)
* Yellow card to Italy’s Grosso for sideburn violations.
* Italian keeper Buffon prevents first serious slam at goal by Australia.
* Crucial 32 minute 17 second mark passes without incident.
* Chipperfield defends chiptastically.
* Oh my. That was close. Italy has now had about four substantial runs at goal compared to Australia’s one.
* First knee-grab of the game goes to Italy. Looked legitimate.
* One minute of additional time.
* END OF FIRST HALF
* DID YOU KNOW: That Italy only has one time zone? Just like China!
* SECOND HALF BEGINS
* El scorchio! Hot attack from rapid Italians. Followed by midfield head-smash that downs two players.
* RED CARD FOR MATERAZZI! Italy down to ten men with most of the second half to play.
* Australia in Kookaburra Mode Three.
* Ten minutes played in the second half.
* Two chances for Australia; Italy stunningly composed in defence.
* DID YOU KNOW: That I have removed all weapons from my house due to the presence here of an actual Italian?
* Yellow card to Wiltshire; second yellow to Australia.
* Tim Cahill does the knee dance. Italian advance at goal is ruinous.
* Free kick to Italy. Tipped over by Shwarzer. Corner to Italy is cleared.
* Halfway through the second half. Game still scoreless.
* Ball out of play; not called.
* Del Piero off for Italy, Totti on. Who these people are, I have no idea.
* Italian defence is liquid and artful. Australian defence is more machine-like, but just as effective.
* Australian corner. Over the top of goal.
* John Aloisi on for Australia. Immediately fouls.
* Buffon is one brave keeper. Risks all and prevails.
* Shwarzer isn’t too shabby, either.
* DID YOU KNOW: That Kaiserslautern is German for Woolloongabba?
* Anger erupts. Galluso yellowed—or yellered, for those in Texas.
* Three minutes to go. Another Italian cops the yellow.
* Australian goal-swarm reversed by Italy; cleared by Australia. One minute left.
* PENALTY to Italy with seconds remaining.
* GOOAAALLL to Italy.
* Italy wins 1-0.
* Former Australian coach Rale Rasic, commenting on SBS: “The penalty decision was an absolute disgrace.” At the same time he’s massively impressed by Italy’s defence. Co-commenter Ned Zelic makes the point that the red card for Materazzi was also a poor decision.
* Italian reader LupodiGubbio:
Rules say that if you go for the ball, miss it and instead hit the other’s leg, it is foul.
That’s why Materazzi was kicked out (well, rules say it was yellow, not red card, but speed made it all seem worst), and that’s why we had penalty.
BTW, referee did not see it as a dangerous action (actually it wasn’t), or he would have taken out yellow card, and did not consider the defensive as the last one (red card in this case).
I just think it is a matter of experience. When you are in the last minut and you see an attaccker, you have to shot his legbones out BEFORE he go into the penalty area.
My english sucks, sorry for that.
Gubbio’s beautifully expressive English doesn’t suck. We’re upset here, but we’ll get over having our legbones shot out. Congratulations to Italy, and congratulations to Australia for advancing further than any previous Australian team in the World Cup. Last words to Rasic: “We were gallant. We were best sportsmen.”
UPDATE. I blame gout.
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