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The State of Refereeing and Media Pressure in Italy

What a genius plan Secco and Blanc had. Behind the smokescreen of Scudetto talk and Champion's League hopefuls, secretly, we had a plan to wait 3 months after a catastrophic downturn of events- until we had lost a record amount of games at home, dropped out of the Champion's League humiliatingly, and then fired our coach, to start the master plan. The plan, obviously, was to start fixing matches to get into Champions League qualification. I don't know why we didn't start fixing games before, we had 1 penalty until Christmas break (which Diego missed), and our form was atrocious, but clearly, Blanc and co. knew what they were doing. Once we had hit rock bottom, the referees would come to our aid. It all makes sense.

Collina swears by the Bible there is no conspiracy...except to save Lazio, probably

Actually, it doesn't, it's a crock of shit. Juventus have received 3 penalties this season, and we've had 3 penalties go against us. Roma have had 9 penalties in their favor, Inter have had 5, Milan have had 5-6. (my memory doesn't serve me entirely) All of them have clearly been correct. Oddly enough, everyone on the Offside who is claiming conspiracy doesn't seem to be bothered by the fact that there have been numerous penalty calls for Juventus ignored. We might be bad, but we have certainly earned more than 1 up until two weeks ago. I also find it funny that when us Juventini have criticized penalties given to Inter, people have rightfully responded that there's nothing they can do. For some reason, it seems the Juventus Offside has a direct line to the FIGC and can get points reversed. The penalties given against Lazio and Genoa are obviously incorrect: What do you want us to do about it?

The funniest part about this is everyone complaining about a pro-Juventus conspiracy, and then in the same sentence, saying, "And the world wonders why Italian football has such a negative stereotype?" It's the opposite- the moviola, the obsession with these incidents is the reason why. All week, certain outlets are going to be bitching about the penalty decision, Italian senators might yell something angrily in session, and we wonder why foreign media has such a poor view of Calcio. This isn't anything new, pretty much everyone admits the moviola obsession is the reason behind this dim view (along with the stadiums, and hooliganism) yet when Juventus receives TWO poor penalties in 3 weeks, well, Goddamnit, there's a conspiracy. (No one has addressed 3 main concerns: What is the conspiracy for? If it is to get into the Champion's League, well, it's a few months late. Why are the referees choosing to give it for crap incidents, and not clearer ones like Socrates tackling Amauri in the box? And lastly, how the hell can Blanc and Secco pull this off?)

Capable of pulling off a masterpiece conspiracy? Doubt it.

Frankly, it's laughable. Mourinho said "Only in Italy are there penalties given like Del Piero's." Call Del Piero a diver if you'd like, but Mourinho has coached in England with divers like Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo, and his own favorite, Didier Drogba. The idea that Italian referees give out exceptionally poor decisions is retarded, and having lived in Spain for 6 months, I can tell you everyone is the same over there. Everyone thinks Spanish referees are awful, and everyone thinks there is a pro-Real Madrid or pro-Barcelona conspiracy, both receiving generous calls, depending on your team.

As for Mourinho's post Napoli-Inter comments, they get better.

“It was intense, difficult for both sides and the result needs to be accepted. After the game I complimented Rosetti, as I liked his attitude and philosophy of football.

"I'm stating first that I like the referee, so I can bitch about him for the rest of the conference and point to this when anyone asks me."

“My players told me there was a clear penalty. In such balanced games that are decided by tiny details, these incidents can be crucial.

"I'm not saying it was a penalty, I'm saying my players said it was a penalty. Napoli is playing well, so clearly, the only way we could win was via a penalty."

“If that's not a penalty, then what is? It's absolutely a stonewall penalty.

"I changed my mind, I did actually see the incident, and it's a PENALTY. I don't understand how the referee missed it."

"Rosetti makes me so sick I want to blow chunks."

That doesn't change my opinion on the referee, who aside from this incident did very well.

"Just kidding."

“I find the attitude of the referee to be the most important thing, as one can make a mistake on individual incidents.

"Rosetti fucked up, and cost us 2 points."

“The problems we had were against an aggressive, fast-paced and quality side like Napoli. I prefer to say we didn't win because our opponents were good and the referee, who is human, made a mistake in not seeing that spot-kick.”

"Good lord, Napoli outplayed us. We didn't suck, it was just that Napoli was better and I'm not sure if you heard, but there was a penalty incident that Rosetti didn't give that could have given us the game. Did I mention Rosetti is a competent individual?"

“Maybe we are paying the price for the problems of others. For example when Juventus were challenging for a place in the Champions League, as they were today, and I see the penalty they received.

"A poor refereeing call in the Juventus game meant obviously, the referee couldn't give a legitimate call elsewhere, in an unrelated campaign."

My first question for Mr Jose would be, if Juventus are fixing our way into Champions League qualification, wouldn't we give Inter penalties, rather than denying them? After all, Napoli is competition for that 4th spot, not Inter. Jose goes on a bit, but it's a classic Italian bitch-about-the-referee-while-claiming-you're-not, and it doesn't help out at all.

Jose's comments have nothing to do with Inter or himself, I'm just using his words as an example. This is just classic bullshit every manager says, and it doesn't help anyone, most of all, the referees. Onto the player ratings:

Buffon apologizing to the fans

Given how often you've saved our asses, Gigi, there is no reason to apologize


Buffon: 4.5- A rare papera from Gigi on Rossi's 2nd goal, completely out of character and he has admitted so. "To find a mistake by Gigi Buffon we need to go and look for it in almanacs. Going back to 2001, when he arrived in Torino: a wrong exit during a match vs. Chievo, then won by 3-2." San Gigi- "Once in a while it happens also to me to make a mistake even if Rossi was good at kicking immediately. Thanks God my mates knew how to remedy, this means that next time it will be up to me to repay their kindness."

Chiellini: 6- A solid game from Giorgio, but on the first goal he should not have tried to intercept the pass, which led to Acquafresca's cross for the first goal. Decent play from the back, even if it's not his specialty.
Legrottaglie: 6- Legrottaglie looked comfortable playing as a pseudo-sweeper, and held his own today.
Zebina: 6.5- You all know of my dislike for JZ15, but he played a very good game today, I was impressed. Only real negative notes were his yellow card and his terrible hack on Zapater that should have earned him a yellow before.

Out of curiosity, is there any Juventus record ADP hasn't broken by now?

Caceres: 6.5- As someone in the comments section noted a few weeks ago (step up and claim your prize) it's sad that a player on loan often displays more grit than players we, you know, actually own. Worked hard on the right side, and a great cross to Amauri having beaten Criscito and Mesto.
Sissoko: 6- A typical battling display in midfield, recovered several balls and chased down opponents at every turn.
Candreva: 5- Started out promisingly enough, but never really found his groove or position in the game, he was quite absent for long stretches.
De Ceglie: 5.5- Genoa attacked a lot on his flank, so his offensive abilities were relatively contained, but he held his own and occasionally influenced play up top.
Marchisio: 7- Excellent cameo from Marchisio. The difference between him when he is tired and when he is fresh is huge.

Diego: 6- Genoa marked Diego very tight and rough, everytime he was on the ball he was being knocked over or hugged from behind. As such, he wasn't able to create as much as normal, but his backheel for Del Piero's goal was genius.

"Hey dude, so I'm kinda under pressure here, think you could score? I'll give you an Italian passport!"

"That's right......give it to me, bitch!!"

"Whoa whoa...calm down. Hey, instead of an Italian passport, how would you like some chocolate?"

Del Piero: 7- Like Diego, Del Piero was being hacked down and barreled over whenever he was on the ball. His first goal was genius, a combination of grit, intelligence, and great finishing. His penalty? He was onside, there was contact, but it was outside of the box. Clearly it was his fault; being clipped, he should have stayed on his feet (like every football player does) and his job should have been to be watching where he was tripped...not, you know, focusing on Amelia or scoring or something.
Amauri: 6.5- Two things I liked about Amauri today: First, his header was straight from a year ago, and despite being surrounded by 4 Genoa players, hammered it in. Second, and probably more important, was the fact that he wasn't bitching and whining constantly. Zebina recovered a ball, and crossed it Molinaro-style into Row Z, and Amauri applauded him for the effort. I do like Amauri, but when he's ineffective up front, it's bad. When he's constantly whining and bitching at the other players, it's just annoying. When Zebina drilled over the net, he was well aware it was a shitty cross. Nobody knocks one out to the stands and thinks "Hmmm, not bad, if only Amauri had gotten there earlier." Regardless, Amauri fought well for the ball, but he needs to start taking some shots with his feet.

Zaccheroni: 6- The team looks like it's slowly developing an identity, and while defense needs to be sorted out still, the offense looked better and perhaps most of all, despite conceding twice, both times we fought back to win.

Offside? I think not.

Things I think I think:
#1- The Penalty: Yes, the referee got it wrong. Do I empty my pockets for every anti-Juventino now? How's self-flagellation alla Pope John Paul II sound?
#2- Rossi's first goal: Maybe the 3 central defenders deserve a better grade for today: the second wasn't their fault, and the first wasn't really either. Giorgio should have stuck with Acquafresca, but the through pass wasn't the issue, it was leaving a man unmarked in the box. Chiellini was covering Acquafresca, Legrottaglie was covering the near post and Zebina had the far post and Suazo occupying his time, when Rossi just waltzed in. On a brief review of the highlights, it looks like De Ceglie should have followed him back. Or maybe it should have been someone else, like Sissoko, who is a defensive midfielder. Either way, I absolve the defense of any blame on the two goals.
#3- 3-2, who saw that coming? Everyone. Genoa has a great offense and a dreadful defense, and their away form recently has been awful. As long as Juve played mediocre (as we more or less did) then we should have won.

It is no coincidence the return of the tongue is at the same time as our return to form...

#4- I like the 3-man defense, actually. I thought it'd give me defensive heart attacks, but thus far, it hasn't really, and whoever thought Cannavaro would be benched in a 3-man defense, much less 2?! The problem with the 3-man defense is it leaves space in midfield to spread the play. That's not a problem if you have a competent midfield, but if you don't, well, you're screwed.
#5- Best cure for hangovers= pound a Gatorade and some Ibuprofen before you go to sleep...scrambled eggs in the morning.
#6- Juve's Primavera is in the Viareggio final against Empoli. Do us proud, ragazzini!
#7- Speaking of the whole refereeing business, here's a thought: Maybe the reason a referee gave a poor penalty in Turin and denied Inter one in Naples is precisely that- the location. San Paolo can be an intimidating atmosphere, to say the least, and the referee is under pressure. The Stadio Olimpico isn't quite as intense, but I don't think it's mere coincidence the home teams got the calls.

That is all. Forzaaaaaaaaa Juve!!!!!!!