Thursday, June 24, 2004

Italy Out, Conspiracy Theorists In

[Euro 2004] Italy are out of Euro 2004 after Sweden and Denmark drew 2-2. The Italians are naturally angry and suspicious of the result. After having watched highlights and the end of the Sweden-Denmark game, I don't think the match was fixed. Did both sides know what they needed to go through to the second round? You bet. Did that affect the way they played the game? Most definitely. Did they agree beforehand or in some way fix the result? No way.

I don't think either team would purposefully let the other side score a goal. The most that can be said is that they knew what they needed to go through, played for that result instead of attacking aggressively and risking defeat. Italy would probably have played the same way in a similar situation. In the end, the Italians only have themselves to blame, having failed to defeat either Denmark or Sweden in their earlier matches.

Tonight, either Germany or Holland will join Spain and Italy in leaving the tournament early. My money is on the Germans going through. They play the Czechs, who are already through and will likely take it easy and rest their key players. Not only that, the Dutch are another underachieving and disappointing team, having failed to even qualify for the last World Cup.