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Zag 77
06-18-2012, 01:44 PM
Italy wins over Ireland 2-0 in Group C of Euro 2012, with a beautiful bicycle-kick goal by temperamental star Mario Balotelli:

http://espnfc.com/us/en/videos/1107470

Italy is following their traditional tournament formula: Play barely well enough to get by in group play, and then turn it on in the knockout phase. Italy plays Sunday in the quarterfinals against the Group D winner: England, France or Ukraine.

I do have to give credit to the Croatian checkerboard uniforms as being pretty cool.

Zag 77
06-18-2012, 09:05 PM
Italy's odds to win Euro 2012 are at 10:1

http://www.oddschecker.com/football/internationals/euro-2012

Zag 77
06-20-2012, 01:31 PM
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has prepared to face England by making a 12-mile walk to a monastery in the middle of the night.

The former Fiorentina coach had promised the Benedictine monks at the Camaldolese Priory near Krakow he would visit them on foot if Italy qualified from Group C.

So after the 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland on Monday night, Prandelli and his coaching staff set off from their Wieliczka base at 3am on Tuesday morning for the pilgrimage.

They arrived at 6.30am to a warm reception - and then returned by car to be back at the team hotel at 7.15am.


http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/england-vs-italy-cesare-prandelli-903691

There is probably some bad theology here, but you never know. It sure can't hurt.:bishop_smiley:

BobZag
06-20-2012, 04:23 PM
Di Natali is one of my favorite players anywhere. Something like 34 or 35 y/o and still playing and scoring for Udinese and Italy like a 24 y/o. And when he smiles, he looks exactly like Leon Rice. No lie!

Zag 77
06-21-2012, 08:38 AM
http://www.worldcupblog.org/euro-2012/photo-a-picture-speaks-a-thousand.html

Super Mario

BobZag
06-21-2012, 09:11 AM
England will "park the bus" in front of the net and counter attack from it with Rooney, Welbeck, Gerrard, Young. Similar to Chelsea's tactics vs Barca. But if Italy win, I'll add Balotelli to my fantasy team. For the quarters I have Ronaldo, Silva and Gomez as my three strikers. I do have Pirlo as a mid on my team, though. :)

Look at this amazing goal Ibrahimovic put on France a few days ago--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rdlzey0rCAI

siliconzag
06-24-2012, 02:30 PM
Actually I think the Tedeschi will beat them, but with Buffon still in peak form, who knows?! Great effort by the Limies today for an entertaining and tightly contested game. England reminds me of a Lippi coached Azzurri team. Sil

Zag 77
06-25-2012, 09:02 AM
[ITALY-ENGLAND] Italy entered the knockout phase of Euro 2012 with a record of only two wins in seven shootouts in major competitions. But the Azzurri could take solace in the fact that their quarterfinal opponent, England, was even worse with a 1-5 record entering Sunday's match. Like at the 1990 1998 and 2006 World Cups and 1996 and 2004 European Championships, England's miserable form from the penalty spot continued as it fell to Italy, 4-2, in a shootout after their match ended in a 0-0 tie.

Italy had the best chances in the match, hitting the woodwork twice. Daniele De Rossi hit the post in the third minute, and Alessandro Diamanti clipped the post with a cross in overtime.

Diamanti scored the winning goal in the shootout after Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Nocerino also converted for Italy, which came back from 2-1 down after Riccardo Montolivo missed the second penalty to win.

"Penalties are a lottery but I thought we deserved victory in the end," said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. "When Montolivo missed his penalty I was sad as he was one of the best players tonight. I was watching with my arm around my son and I told him he was lucky he didn't have to buy a ticket.

The key penalty kick was Pirlo's soft chip right down the middle that evened the shootout at 2-2. It brought back memories of the most famous chipped penalty of all time by Antonin Panenka that helped Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in the 1976 European Championship final.

"When Andrea Pirlo stepped up, I was very calm," said Prandelli. "He's a star and knew what he needed to do; and he did it. Around 80 percent of penalty shootouts go down to luck. Some players are used to this kind of pressure, some are just calm in these situations -- but mainly it's down to good fortune."

Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored for England, but Ashley Young hit the crossbar, and Ashley Cole, who scored for Chelsea in the shootout win over Bayern Munich in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final, had his attempt saved by Gianluigi Buffon.

Italy was rewarded for its almost total domination of England. The Azzurri finished with a 35-9 edge in shots.

"I wasn't surprised by tonight," Prandelli added. "I knew we could control the game. My worry was that we were allowing England too much space on the break -- we could have been a bit cleverer in our build-up play. We tried to play football. We tried to draw England out, we tried to hit them quickly. I think if we'd scored in the 90 minutes it would have been an even better game."


http://www.socceramerica.com/article/47154/curse-of-shootout-hits-english-again.html

BobZag
06-25-2012, 09:40 AM
Pirlo was the best player on the pitch. It was a real nailbiter. Italy are really under pressure now, though. Germany has two more days rest for Thursday's semi. I look for Di Natale and some others to play. Balotelli can't go another full game and not run out of gas after a while. Italy will need goals and Di Natale is all about goals.

Zag 77
06-26-2012, 10:00 AM
Prandelli & staff make another trip to the monastery after beating England.

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2012/06/25/Soccer-Prandelli-did-another-pilgrimage-England-win_7092337.html

No comment on the theology, but if it keeps working, you may as well keep doing it.

Zag 77
06-28-2012, 12:43 PM
Italy is following their traditional tournament formula: Play barely well enough to get by in group play, and then turn it on in the knockout phase.

Highlight video:

http://espnfc.com/us/en/news/1118978/prandelliitaly-respected.html

Italy has never lost to Germany in a major international competition.

2 first half goals by Balotelli, and then he is wisely subbed out after getting a yellow card; thus he is saved for the final. Ozil scores for Germany in injury time on a PK. Buffon does his usual superb job in goal. Italy vs. Spain in the Sunday final. Don't be surprised if the 2 best goalies in the world dominate: Gianluigi Buffon for Italy and Iker Casillas for Spain.

I will not be surprised if Coach Prandelli & staff take their third long walk to the monastery.

BobZag
06-28-2012, 02:48 PM
What a game! Balotelli just killed Germany's defense. Di Natale really should've made it 3-0. Pirlo is a maestro out there. Italy simply owns Germany, it seems.

Onto the Finals v Spain.

Zag 77
06-29-2012, 09:32 AM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/grant_wahl/06/29/Mario-Balotelli-Euro-2012/index.html?sct=sc_t11_a0



KIEV, Ukraine -- The sweetest moment of Euro 2012 didn't fit the script. In the celebration after Italy's 2-1 semifinal win over favored Germany on Thursday, Azzurri striker Mario Balotelli made a pilgrimage to the stands of the National Stadium in Warsaw and embraced a small, aging Italian woman in the front row. So fearsome on the field, so ready to project anger and strength, the 21-year-old Balotelli melted in her arms like a gentle giant.

It was the kind of warmth you see between a mother and son. Silvia Balotelli, Mario's adoptive mother, had come to Warsaw to support him, and he had done something transcendent, scoring both Italian goals in a breathtaking display of power, speed and skill. But for the polarizing wunderkind of Italian soccer, the one who's on the verge of holding the English Premier League and European titles, the importance of those goals paled in comparison to the emotion he felt afterward.

"The best moment of the night was when I saw my mother after the game," Balotelli would say. "Those goals were for her."





It may be hard to fathom for U.S. sports fans, but racism is still common in stadiums here, and Balotelli has been the lightning rod for much of it. The Croatian federation was fined $101,000 in part for racist chants by its fans that included a banana thrown at Balotelli. On Friday, the Spanish federation was fined $25,000 for its own racist fan chants at the towering Italian. A Ukrainian TV commentator suggested that racist taunts might be useful in throwing Balotelli off his game, as though it were just one more tactic on the field. And then Italy's sports bible Gazzetta dello Sport got into the act before the Italy-England game, publishing a cartoon in which Balotelli was shown swatting soccer balls from the top of Big Ben like King Kong atop the Empire State Building. (The paper later apologized.)

Born to Ghanaian immigrants in Sicily and adopted by a white Italian family.

Zag 77
06-29-2012, 10:12 AM
All bases covered:


ANSA)- Krakow, June 29 - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli went on a third Euro 2012 nighttime pilgrimage to a Polish shrine after Italy's 2-1 win over Germany in the semi-finals Thursday.

Prandelli and his staff set off to the shrine 10 km from Krakow after returning from Warsaw soon after midnight. They got back to the Krakow base around five a.m. after a "fast 10-km walk", Italy sources said Friday.

Prandelli's first pilgrimage, after beating Ireland to make the quarters, was 21 kilometres long.

His second, after beating England to make the semis, was 11 km.

webspinnre
06-29-2012, 11:17 AM
The racism thing is truly baffling to me how prevalent it appears to be. I'm not sure I understand the concern about being on top of Big Ben like King Kong though?

bullzag23
06-29-2012, 02:15 PM
The racism thing is truly baffling to me how prevalent it appears to be. I'm not sure I understand the concern about being on top of Big Ben like King Kong though?

It's similar to the banana being thrown at him because they're depicting him as a monkey.

BobZag
06-29-2012, 03:51 PM
It is mind-boggling how prevelant racism is in Europe. Not the subtle stuff, backanded stuff one might find in America, but blatant, out-and-out hatred and vile. Really weird to see in 2012.

Pirlo and Iniesta.
Buffon and Casillas.
Montolivo and Xabi.

That's just a few of the best of the best that will meet Sunday.