Know Thy Enemy: Italy

Posted: February 22, 2012 in KTE Report
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This is KnowThyEnemies’ first of what I hope will be many posts in the “Know Thy Enemy” series.  I’m always open to suggestions for new sections for future KTE posts – let me know what you think in the comments section!


Ah, Italy.  For me, the name evokes visions of standing on a cliff above the crystalline blue-green waters of the beautiful Cinque Terre.  Waters so clear and inviting, one feels the need to just DIVE right in.  Then climb back up, only to DIVE once more.  Up again, perhaps wincing a bit in a fruitless attempt to make my DIVES look more genuine.  Then another DIVE.  What’s that?  A gust of wind?  DIVE.  The light touch of a feather?  DIVE.  Someone looked at me?  DIVE.

On February 29, USMNT fans will no doubt be treated to the best diving show they’ve seen since Greg Louganis won gold in the 1988 Olympics.  Like blossoms being blown from the trees in the springtime breeze, Italian players will flutter to the ground at the slightest hint of physical contact.  It will be frustrating.  It will defy all notions of sportsmanship and fair play.  It will be Italy.

While unpopular with opposing teams, the Italian national team's latest jersey gives players the uninhibited freedom to perform to their true potential.

Here’s the KnowThyEnemies breakdown:

Statistics sez: Be still my heart!  Wikipedia tells me that the USA has never beaten Italy, losing 7 times and drawing 3.  But this seemingly bleak record can be easily explained.  The first 6 losses were a result of misunderstandings about game start times (what American knows what time 15:00 is?), and Italy won on account of FIFA’s strict “no-show forfeit” policy.  The most recent loss against Italy, at the USA’s first game of the 2009 Confederations Cup, was clearly a result of all those damn vuvuzelas.  In sharp contrast, the draws were the result of heroic, stellar performances by the USA, deserving of utmost praise.  And our most recent draw against Italy, in the 2006 World Cup, should have actually been a win.  Tim Howard agreed to let Italy score a goal after Marco Materazzi started crying when Timmy made a joke about his sister, because he felt bad about it (nice guy, that Tim Howard).  Thus, the 1-1 result.  Materazzi later told the same joke to Zinedine Zidane, but that didn’t work out so well.  True story.

What I’m eating: The opportunities to stick it to the Italians by eating crappy American knockoffs of their cuisine are ample.  Takeout from the Olive Garden.  Or Little Ceaser’s $5 “Hot’N’Ready” pizza.  Or Chef Boyardee, or some off-brand, $0.79 Mac’N’Cheese.  Pick your poison.

What I’m drinking: As if their diving wasn’t bad enough, Italy is known for not being a nation of beer drinkers.  Another reason not to like them.  But, Italy is known for their fine wines.  So I’m probably going with a bag of Franzia for this match.  Nothing demeans your national beverage like American frat boys turning its consumption into a “game” known as “Slapping the Bag”.  Slap on, boys!

What I’m singing: “That’s Annoying”, sung to the tune of “That’s Amore”:

When you let your feet fly and you take a fat dive, that’s annoying
When you fall to the ground though there’s no one around, that’s annoying
We all sing, ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-ling, “pick yourself up, you’re faking”
You’re a fool, tippy-tippy-tool, tippy-tippy tool, save your dives for the pool

What to say to the Italian fan next to you if, God forbid, they score: “Nice goal.  In other news, I’m having trouble recalling Italy’s alliances during WWII.  Could you refresh my memory?”

Until next time, GO USA!

  1. […] 32 years later, Brazil was eliminated in the World Cup quarterfinals at the hands of Italy, another massive upset known today as “the Sarrias Disaster” (for the stadium the match […]

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