There was a time when Christian Vieri
was arguably the best striker in the world. He was a goalscoring machine and would hit the back of
the net regularly in Serie A and with the national team. Although after a couple of years at the
top, "Il Mostro" (The monster) as he was nicknamed by Inter fans, went through a steep decline and
was not the player he once was.
Juve Stabia are a club from Castellamare di Stabia, a town outside
of Napoli (also the birthplace of Fabio
Quagliarella). Juve Stabia, or the Vespe (bees) as they are nicknamed, have always been a club
that bounced around the lower divisions, never reaching the paradises of Serie B and Serie A.
In honor of the national team break, I thought the video of the week should be national
team-themed. Here's a great little video I found on youtube, which goes through the history of the
national team in 3 minutes and shows us that we too are part of the national team (L'Italia siamo
noi=We are Italy).
After seeing Marcello Lippi's latest national team call-ups this Sunday, the big question all
over Italy has been "Where's Cassano?". The media has written articles on it and are
severely questioning Lippi's decision to leave out El Pibe di Bari yet again. It really is
mind-boggling how Lippi can leave Italy's most talented player at home watching the game from his
Yet another refereeing error. Napoli should've went up 1-0 with this play. At least it would've
made yesterday's game more interesting. Full results after the jump.
Scorers: 45´ Acquafresca (Cag)
Report. Player Ratings.
After this summer's UEFA U-21 Championship, the current cycle will end and a new cycle
(2009-2011) will start, which will result in a new Azzurrini team being put together because the
current players will be too old to be eligible. Therefore in preparation for the qualifiers in
September, Casiraghi is using next week's friendly vs.
There have been many players in Italy who are hyped by the media and pundits and in the end they
never really amount to nothing in their careers, or just have average careers when they were
expected to become superstars. You can look back over the past 10 years and see how many players
have been given the "failed promise" label.
Remember the whole fiasco a couple of months back when Brescia striker Davide Possanzini and
Napoli winger Daniele Mannini were suspended for a year for showing up 15 minutes late to
post-match drug testing? Well, they both can breathe huge sighs of relief as today TAS suspended
the decision, allowing Mannini and Possanzini to get back on the football pitches.
Filippo "SuperPippo" Inzaghi scored his 300th career goal this weekend. Many people
don't appreciate Inzaghi. They say he has no technique. They say he really doesn't know how to play
football. They say he always dives. They say he always complains. But what they don't realize is
that Filippo Inzaghi is one of the greatest strikers of the modern era.
So today is the start of spring break for me, and I'm taking a little vacanza, so I won't be
around for a week. However I will be back on Monday, March 16th to bring you the Serie A Weekend
Round-up. So since the blog will be dead for around a week, I'll leave you with some random Italian
soccer videos that I had lying around my youtube favorites to keep you busy while I'm gone.
So yesterday I was browsing around Italian Goal.com (the only version of goal.com worth reading
since they just post articles from other sources instead of making stuff up like the english
version), and I came across this article. It's almost every week that we constantly hear complaints
from all teams about referee errors.
A couple of years ago (2004 to be exact), Sicilian side Messina were promoted from Serie B and
returned to Serie A for the first time since the early 1960s. This is also the same time Palermo
were promoted to Serie A for the first time in a long time so all of Italy was surprised to see two
Sicilian sides in Serie A in the 2004-2005 season (it's not a surprise anymore, as Palermo became a
stable Serie A side and they were joined by Catania).
Today Lazio and Juventus went head to head at the Stadio Olimpico in the Coppa Italia semi-final
1st leg. Marcello Lippi was on hand to witness the match, and both sides were for the most part
first choice (Del Piero and Buffon were rested for Juve). Lazio started with: Muslera,
Lichtsteiner, Siviglia, Cribari, Kolarov; Foggia, Ledesma, Matuzalem, Manfredini; Rocchi, Pandev,
while Juventus went with: Manninger, Grygera, Mellberg, Chiellini, Molinaro; Marchionni, Sissoko,
Tiago, Nedved; Amauri, Iaquinta.
There was a time when the UEFA Cup was "the" Italian team competition. An Italian team
would win it or would at least get to the semi-final. Unfortunately in recent years when it
switched to a group stage format Italian clubs haven't been as successful, and see it as a nuisance
or a second rate competition.
We all know by now that Rino Gattuso is not one who keeps his thoughts to himself. He'll tell
you like it is, and he's not afraid of anyone. (I mean come on, this is the man who choked Marcello
Lippi at the World Cup.) Gattuso always gives 110% for club and country, and now that he's on the
sidelines injured he's become an analyst of sorts, always being interviewed about various topics in
the calcio world.
So the long anticipated Champions League Round of 16 first legs have come and gone, and all the
Italian teams will have to go back to the drawing board. Inter would have wanted
to have gotten a better result at home (a win) but now face the arduous task of going to Old
Trafford and getting a result (a scoring draw would put the Nerazzurri through).
Some of you may be looking at this picture and thinking: "What is this? Who are these
players? And why does Sampdoria have a Scudetto patch on their jersey?" Well, those are the
Primavera (the top youth side in Italy, similar to reserves in England) sides of Juventus and
Sampdoria doing battle in the Torneo Viareggio final.
So when I was a little kid watching calcio back in the '90's, my idol was none other than
Roberto Baggio. Everything about him amazed me: his technique and skill, his perfect free kicks,
the way he just slipped past defenders like they were practice cones, the amazing goals he scored,
Inter-Milan yesterday turned out to be one of the better derbies of recent years. It was filled
with intensity, exciting play, and featured two star-studded squads. Adriano's goal was subject to
much debate, but even a Milan fan like myself has to admit that it was a call that could have gone
Up until about 2 years ago, if you had asked anyone who the best Italian defender was or even
who the top defender in the world was, many people would tell you it was Alessandro Nesta. Everyone
appreciated Nesta. He has always been a serious professional who had chosen always to step away
from the limelight and preferred to be a silent leader.
Since Torino had returned to the top flight in 2006, they have not lived up to their potential
at all. The squad has a die-hard fanbase with passionate fans that flock to the Stadio Olimpico to
watch their beloved Granata, and have a roster of players that can easily get them a mid-table
So the big friendly everybody waited for lived up to it's billing as an entertaining encounter,
but it was entertaining for Brazil fans. Carlos Dunga's side played a great match, a real samba
style mixed with grit and determination. Italy, on the other hand, at times looked like San Marino
(especially in the first half) but picked it up in the second (but still not playing up to
The Italy squad listen to Lippi talk while training before the big Italy-Brazil friendly
tomorrow. In Serie A action, Inter won again and Milan drew Reggina, which meant Juventus had a
chance to get back into second place. A tough Catania side stood in their way, and just when the
match looked like it would be heading to a 1-1 draw, Christian Poulsen scored in stoppage time to
catapult Juve past Milan.
Usually we get the call-ups on Sunday afternoons, but with the Italy game being Tuesday we get
Marcello Lippi's call-ups a day early. Lippi has gotten criticism from the press for his call-ups
since he took over, most notably for the exclusions of Alessandro Del Piero and Antonio Cassano.
Lippi said that this game would be no place to experiment and new faces should not be expected, and
he was right on point.
With the big hype surrounding the Italy-Brazil friendly this coming Tuesday, I thought it would
be a good idea to show all the big games Italy and Brazil have played against each other. As we all
know, Italy and Brazil have won the most World Cups (Brazil has 5, Italy has 4). But you could also
say that Italy has always had an admiration for Brazilian soccer and vice-versa.
Some of you remember a couple of months ago when I posted that Puma was planning to kit Italy
with a light blue/brown shorts combo to be worn at this summer's Confederations Cup. Well, Puma has
in fact made the new kit, but it is not as dramatic as we first thought. Puma has decided to
celebrate Italy's glorious past of the 1930's, when the Azzurri were back to back World Cup
champions in 1934 and 1938.
After 41 years, Cagliari beat Juventus in Turin in a thrilling 3-2 come from behind victory.
Buffon (pictured) could only watch as the Sardinian side took the 3 points. Cagliari have been the
real surprise team of the season. After losing their first 5 games, everyone thought this was the
end of Cagliari's run in Serie A and that Cellino had made a mistake in hiring inexperienced
manager Massimiliano Allegri.
One of the most popular shows in Italy is "Striscia la Notizia" a parody news show
(kind've like a Daily Show with Jon Stewart or a Colbert Report but more variety show styled) that
is broadcast on Canale 5 in Italy. It is a very funny show and the news covers all aspects of daily
life. Probably one of the shows most famous segments is the "Tapiro D'Oro"
(pictured) [Golden Anteater Award] which is given to celebrities and famous people who are
embarrassed in the media.
Inter defeated Sampdoria 1-0 to give themselves breathing room from Juventus. It was supposed to
be the game where we would see the geniuses of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano do battle,
but unfortunately both players were unavailable for selection. The game wasn't pretty, but Jose
Mourinho's squad got the job done once again, grinding out a 1-0 victory from a goal from Adriano,
who seems to be reborn.
It's no secret that with all the goals Luca Toni has scored in Germany he has
become an idol for Bayern Munich fans all over the world. But one fan in particular decided that he
loved Luca Toni so much that he had to write a song for him. The German fans have to help me out
here, because I don't know if "Matze Knop" is the name of a group or one guy but he/they
is/are the author of the song, titled "Numero Uno".
After a day full of tension, Berlusconi announced late today that Kaka will be staying at Milan
and that he closed the deal himself. So Milan fans everywhere can now breathe a sigh of relief
(unless you were in favor of him leaving). We'll see what happens over the next few days though.
Regarding Serie A, we are now officially at the half-way point.
All of Italy is reporting it now. At first it was just a crazy rumor. Nobody believed that Kaka
would leave Milan for Manchester City. But now it's slowly becoming official. According to Italian
press reports (including Milan Channel, Milan's official TV station), Milan have accepted
Manchester City's 120 million euro offer for Kaka.
Nobody is expecting big moves during this transfer window in Serie A. Maybe some small clubs
will buy a top Serie B player or some players will switch clubs, but the biggest transfer everyone
was expecting was the move of Fiorentina striker Giampaolo Pazzini. The Atalanta youth product was
considered at a young age to be one of the most promising strikers in all of Italy.
How great it was to have Serie A back after the winter break. I missed my weekly calcio fix.
Roma-Milan highlighted the return of Serie A. Both teams desperate for the 3 points, as Roma wanted
to inch closer to the top half of the table and Milan wanted to get closer to Juventus and
While Italian football provides excellent quality and entertainment on the pitch, we all know
that it equally provides excellent quality and entertainment off the pitch. The crazy owners, the
fights in the media between opposing managers and directors, the outbursts in press conferences,
and all that other great stuff that keeps us entertained during the week.
It as been 2 years and a couple of months since the big Calciopoli scandal in the summer of
2006. The big people accused were Luciano Moggi, the director general of Juventus, his agent son
Alessandro Moggi, Davide Lippi (son of Marcello Lippi and head of the big Italian football agency
GEA), as well as some other agents like Franco Zavaglia, Francesco Ceravolo, and Pasquale
Here we have a video compilation which shows us the best goals of the first part of the Serie A
season. Some nice goals scored so far. Video after the jump.
(I highly recommend visiting the youtube page of the video and watching it in high quality.)
What do you think has been the best goal so far?
And so, with Serie A starting up again this weekend, the second half of the season begins
(although technically it begins January 25th when the girone di ritorno begins). I thought
it would be a good idea to give each team a grade for their efforts so far. Serie A has been very
interesting this season and has provided us with some top quality football to gaze our eyes