And so to the very first post, and this is to give you all an example of the dross us Italy fans are up against over here in the 'Home of Football' TM.
I know I should have better things to do than read the News of the World, and I know they are probably trying to dress-down all Italy fans because we're generally better looking / more sophisticated than the average NOTW punter, but still...
NOTW ITALY REVIEW
THE defending champions could well be brought back down to earth with a nasty bump this summer. Let's hope so.
If Italy should prevail again, maybe their anti-football style will be copied by more and more coaches.
Anti-Football? When was this? At the last World Cup, when we played our part in some thrilling games against Australia and Germany, and scored 12 goals along the way?
The state of Italian football on and off the pitch remains rotten. Attendances are appalling and Serie A is rife with terrace violence.
On the pitch - have you ever heard of Internazionale?
Off the pitch - average attendance is 25,000 (not great, but certainly not appalling!), and violence isn't rife!
The Azzurri players deserve respect for the way they won four years ago against the backdrop of the country's match-fixing scandal. But was everyone involved really oblivious of the bribe culture in their own country? And has it really been eliminated?
Difficult to say. What does this have to do with the World Cup squad though?!
One thing that hasn't changed is their dull, boring style of play as witnessed as they eventually overcame the Republic of Ireland to win their group.
More research needed instead of sticking to your lazy journalistic stereotypes - we won 7 and drew 3, finishing unbeaten in our group, socring 18 goals along the way!
The defence will be dour, the midfield will press and cover and the attack will most certainly be the first line of defence.
The defence will be well-organised and happy with the ball at their feet. Obviously the midfield and attack will press and cover, but thats the same as Wayne Rooney does!
As four years ago, Italy will be reliant on the odd moment of magic up front, although one wonders exactly who is going to provide it. Alberto Aquilani is regarded as one of their most talented midfield players but look how unimpressive he has been for Liverpool this season. In attack, Giuseppe Rossi is no Paolo Rossi. He didn't make it at Manchester United and now plays for Villarreal in Spain. Neither Antonio di Natale of Udinese nor Juve's Vincenzo Iaquinta are world class forwards either.
Aquilani didn't ever stand a chance of getting in the squad, unless this review was written about three years ago. Rossi isn't in the final squad.
Di Natale scored 29 goals for a lowly Udinese, to finish as Serie A's top scorer, ahead of Milito, Eto'o, Pato, etc. I agree about Iaquinta though.
Midfield playmaker Andrea Pirlo is a class act but opponents will soon suss out that if they stop him they stifle Italy.
We're not really as dependent upon Pirlo anymore. Now if we were talking about the team from four years ago...
Paraguay are good enough to beat them and Slovakia could hold them to a draw.
The four-time winners have a history of going all the way by grinding out results. But there are too many vastly better teams this summer - possibly even in Group F.
And the final dig.
Great review NOTW. Must have taken all of 5 minutes to research!