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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Italians furious at media jibes
By Mandeep Sanghera
BBC Sport in Germany

Fabio Cannavaro
Cannavaro has led the Italian complaints
The Italian team are angry with a German weekly publication and plan to take their revenge by knocking the host nation out of the World Cup on Tuesday.

The Azzurri are fuming over a satirical article on Der Spiegel newspaper's website, which joked that Italians were "lazy and greasy, among other things".

The article was quickly pulled but not before the damage had been done ahead of the semi-final in Dortmund.

Skipper Fabio Cannavaro said: "As an Italian and captain, I feel offended."

He added: "These stereotypes applied to us come from an old culture that has been overly abused.

"It shocks me that this can happen in a civilised country like Germany."

Midfielder Gennaro Gattuso added: "That article offended my father and every other Italian who worked hard for low pay.

"Germany has given Italians work in the past but our countrymen put in the effort and earned their wages."

Italian journalist Gabriele Marcotti believes the article has not only served to spice up the game but has also dealt a damaging blow to Germany's charm offensive.

"I think it was certainly a bad judgement call by Der Speigel," he said.

"It has come at a time when Germany is trying so hard to be nice to everybody.

"One of their mottos for the World Cup is, 'The world is a guest of its German friends'."

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