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[Washington Babylon]

Cry, Baby, Cry

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It’s interesting how some teams lose a game at the World Cup and instead of complaining loudly about controversial officiating calls, take responsibility for the loss. For example, here are a few remarks made by members of the Italian team, a four-time World Cup champion, after it lost 3-2 to Slovakia yesterday and was eliminated from the Cup:

“I take full responsibility,” [Coach] Lippi said after the 3-2 loss to Slovakia. “I thought this team could do more and that’s what I prepared it to do, but when you see a team that plays with fear in their legs and in their hearts you understand that you have failed.”

“It’s everyone’s fault, not just Lippi’s. We’ve all got to be accountable,” defender Gianluca Zambrotta said. “When you finish last in a group with New Zealand, Paraguay and Slovakia, with all respect to those teams, it’s only right to go home.”

“When we get back to Italy we’re going to put helmets on,” Gattuso added. “And we’re going to accept all the criticism.”

Mind you, as the New York Times reported, “There was some bad luck, too, especially on Thursday. A shot by Quagliarella was stopped in the 67th minute, perhaps past the goal line, by the right knee of Slovak defender Martin Skrtel. Quagliarella put the ball into the net in the 85th minute but was ruled offside.”

Compare that to the reaction of players from the United States, which had a goal called back against Slovenia in its second game and ended up in a draw. Afterward players complained that the game was stolen by the refs. The referee who made the bad call — after an earlier bad call favoring the U.S. that set up the annulled goal — was caricatured as a corrupt villain. The national media was so outraged that it all but suggested that a grand conspiracy had been hatched by the referees to deny the U.S. of victory.

And people say Italians are hot-headed and egotistical.

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