Top 10 Calcio Cliches

Josep Guardiola, pelatih Barcelona, usai meraih gelar juara Liga Champions 2008/2009 (27/05) berkata bahwa titel itu didedikasikan untuk sep...

Josep Guardiola, pelatih Barcelona, usai meraih gelar juara Liga Champions 2008/2009 (27/05) berkata bahwa titel itu didedikasikan untuk sepakbola Italia (dan juga Paolo Maldini). Pep, sapaan Guardiola, pernah berkiprah selama 3 musim di calcio bersama Brescia dan AS Roma saat itu. Jadi, wajar bila Pep bisa lebih menghargai calcio, di tengah arus deras pendapat klise dan skeptis mengenai sepakbola Italia.

Channel 4 merangkum apresiasi minor itu dalam tajuk "Top 10 Calcio Cliches" yang dimuat dalam website-nya, terutama yang berasal dari penggemar Liga Inggris atau orang Inggris sendiri. Channel 4 adalah situs berbasis dan berbahasa Inggris satu-satunya yang meng-cover Liga Italia.

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Berikut daftarnya:

10. Conspiracy theories
True, Italians love to blame shadowy forces for genuine errors, but the response to Byron Moreno’s refereeing in the 2002 World Cup paled in comparison to Chelsea’s massive strop in the Champions League semi-final. Their exit gained top marks for showmanship and pure entertainment value, especially Didier Drogba’s live swearing into the TV camera and Guus Hiddink’s suggestions that UEFA “didn’t want another all-English Final.” Even Italians thought that was a bit much.

9. Use of the elbow
Giampaolo Pazzini fell victim to this cliché when he accidentally collided with the Republic of Ireland defender John O’Shea’s nose three minutes into a recent World Cup qualifier. Just because an arm connects with a face doesn’t mean it was intentional, even if he is wearing the Azzurri jersey.

8. Fancy hairstyles
The hairband may not have made it all the way across the English Channel yet, but what the Premiership stars lack in length they make up for in effort. It’s really quite difficult to find an Italian football player with as much crude oil, I mean gel, as Cristiano Ronaldo or as ludicrous a barnet as Everton’s Marouane Fellaini.

7. Defending a 1-0 lead
If the last few European tournaments have taught us anything, it’s that Italian teams are really quite bad at defending 1-0 leads. They are positively atrocious at it, in fact, and that alone should discourage them from ever attempting this sort of approach again. It is ironic that the prime purveyors of the 1-0 and defend tactic – Giovanni Trapattoni and Fabio Capello – now manage the nations who complained the most.

6. Diving
It’s remarkable so many Brits still hold the opinion that Italians are divers when they get to watch Didier Drogba, Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard every week in the Premier League. Yet every time there is an Italian team on UK television, the commentators say he “made a meal of it” until they see actual blood pouring from torn flesh. And even then they remain sceptical.

5. Match-fixing
Even if we take the official line on Luciano Moggi’s dealings – which as time goes on seemed more the deluded rantings of a wannabe despot than an actual puppeteer – the tsunami caused by the Calciopoli trial is keeping everyone under the microscope. Each club continues to complain it is being unfairly treated, but they would do that even if the referees were robots programmed to be scientifically impartial. Whiny yes, fixed no.

4. Predictable League
Inter may have killed off the Scudetto race since Calciopoli, but the fact remains the top four changes each year, something that certainly cannot be said of the Premier League. Last season Milan missed out on the Champions League, this time it’s Roma’s turn to sit on the sidelines. UEFA Cup contenders Milan, Napoli, Sampdoria and Udinese all failed to qualify a year later, letting in Genoa, Roma and Lazio.

3. It's boring
It’s a tired statistic, but one that bears repeating: Serie A has in recent years on average more goals per game than the Premier League and Spanish Liga. Get over it. The tempo is certainly slower, but that does not automatically translate into ‘dull.’ It means the ball can be moved around with some accuracy and passes picked out with thought put into them, rather than playing a fast-paced hit and hope game.

2. Gamesmanship
Who is this making substitutions with 30 seconds to go and winding down the clock by trying to keep the ball near the corner flag? Why, it’s Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona! And who got someone sent off for tripping up over his own feet? Step – or rather tumble – forward Nicolas Anelka.

1. Masters of defence
Tell that to Roma, who have conceded a spectacular 59 goals in 37 games. Or indeed Milan, whose back line certainly apply as ‘masters’ in the sense of little wizened old man who teaches a sparky kid how to do kung fu, but can’t actually do any of it himself any more. That’s not to mention Juventus, who regularly field Jonathan Zebina.


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