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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Were Italy's tactics to blame?
Have your say on Italy's progress
Italy crash out of the World Cup after a dramatic extra time defeat to South Korea.

Were Giovanni Trapattoni's defensive tactics to blame?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.


I think Italy is definitely one of the strong soccer nations. Though, I think it'd be better for everybody if Italy just accepted the loss VS Korea and still remain honourable. Some calls are made to be controversial, but criticizing about it doesn't change the outcome. I hope Italy get much further in the 2006 World Cup.
Dowoo, Usa-Korea

I watched the Italy games hoping to see some brilliant football. That didn't happen. So then I just watched Francesco Totti. Mmmm Mmm. But then he was sent off for diving.

Italy lost and no more Totti, I was disappointed on both counts.
Effi Vasille, Australia

All the world has seen what happened to Italy and Spain.Do we really need amateur referees or it would be better to have a professional category of them? Everybody knows Blatter was re-elected thanks to countries like Egypt, Ecuador, South Korea etc.

Did we really need referees from these countries where Football is just a game and it has no professional and economical side?
Giancarlo Pepe, Italy

Open Quote
Referee standards haven't suddenly dropped since the last World Cup.
Close Quote
Per, Sweden
I am quite shocked at how easily the Italian fans are brainwashed by their own media. Your media is the one to blame. They are just trying to shift the responsibility away from your so called multi million dollar superstars so that they can keep squeezing your hard earned dollars to pay these guys who can't even score five metres in front of open goal.
Don, Australia

Where was the number 10, Roberto Baggio? He could have made the difference in the Italian team.
Nicky, USA

After seeing many European games of Juventus and Milan in the past years or the Italian side (Germany-Italy at Euro 96), where Italian players committed lots of fouls that the referee didn't see, I don't understand the childish attitude of Italian media. There is only one name for it - bad losers!
Phil, Germany

Italy lost because good goals were taken away - full stop.
Alfredo, Italy

They would never have made it to the second stage had they not managed to draw with Mexico. Even that would not have been enough if Croatia had won their match against Ecuador. Italy did not look like a superpower but more like a team that stumbled its way through the World Cup.
Aravindan Vasudevan,India

Open Quote
It is defensive tactics that make them so hard to beat
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Radu Martin,Romania

Italian food is delicious. Italian football is even better. Only a true football fan can admire and understand the pure Italian defensive tactics. Just consider that no team was able to beat them in the knockout stage during the last four World Cups.

It is defensive tactics that make them so hard to beat. They haven't won any major tournaments recently simply because of bad luck (think of Euro2000) but their time will come soon enough. I wish Romania had that defence...
Radu Martin,Romania

Referee standards haven't suddenly dropped since the last World Cup. It's just that there are more than twenty cameras covering every inch and angle of the play nowadays. On the second or third slow-motion replay we, the audience, can judge the referee's decision, but the referee only gets one chance - in full speed.

Italy haven't had any luck with the referees but it's hardly a "conspiracy" and other teams have suffered worse. Italy's biggest problem was never the referees, but their own inability when it really mattered.
Per, Sweden

Open Quote
How many other teams in the World Cup had FIVE perfectly good goals disallowed?
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Caroline Evani, Italy

Make no mistake - had the goals Vieri and Totti missed gone in, the flag would have gone up anyway, just as with Tommasi's beautiful winning goal. He was on-side by two metres when the ball was passed. You can't take good goals away from even a great team and expect them to win.
Alfredo,Italy

How many other teams in the World Cup had FIVE perfectly good goals disallowed? - not one. They are criticised when they have the 'nerve' to complain. I bet that if any of the non-Italians who left messages on this page had seen their own team being so badly mistreated by the referees and linesmen, they wouldn't be criticising Italy because they'd be too busy criticising the referees themselves!

And as for the Italian club Perugia sacking the Korean player - he was sacked for controversial remarks he made about Italian football. After all, I do not recall any French players or Argentinean being 'kicked out' of Italy when they beat Italy in the World Cup finals some years ago!
Caroline Evani, Italy

Open Quote
Italy are a very talented side, and I would have loved to see them play Brazil in the final
Close Quote
Laura Kendle, England
I'm a Korean. And I never hated Italy or Italians before. But nowadays I think some Italians are so childish, Especially their media. What a childish manner they have!! I will never eat any pizza.
Hongsang Im, South Korea

Italy are a very talented side, and I would have loved to see them play Brazil in the final. They are not a bad side, but luck just didn't go their way.
Laura Kendle, England

Italy were basically not good enough to win the game. They were lazy and did not take advantage of several changes. Why should a young boy be the 'scapegoat' for ineptitude on the part of so called superstars of soccer? What the Perugia Manager has done is disgraceful. He, like the rest of the Italian footballing community, is behaving in a most childish and despicable way!
Mary Burke, Ireland

Every Italian who feels hard done by, pay attention to the US reaction to having lost. They had a goal prevented by a handball on the line that wasn't seen, yet all we have heard so far is how good the German keeper was. Listen and learn how to lose gracefully.
Andrew, England

Italy were basically robbed and cheated. The Italians have lost games before and accepted defeat with dignity. The disgraceful performances by officials are turning the game into a joke. Good luck to the nations remaining in the competition. Antonio, Italian in England
Antonio Traetto,England and Italy

Open Quote
Korea are not stronger than Italy, but they believed they could make it until the end - that's the difference
Close Quote
Dani, Italy

I agree with those who feel that the refereeing was poor. If he had done a good job, Italy would have ended up playing with five men. One more thing, Italy lost not because of a bad referee, but because they only made one goal, while Korea made two goals - period.
Steve, USA

Trapattoni, please give up. Did you take a look some time at your bench instead of kicking bottles around? Which other team has Del Piero, Totti, Inzaghi, Montella and Baggio? Yet you play defensively all the time. Korea are not stronger than Italy, but they believed they could make it until the end - that's the difference.

The ref wasn't our friend, but if you want to win the World Cup you should be beating Korea by three or four goals.
Dani, Italy

Come on, Guys. We have to agree that we lost just one match. Don't blame the referee. We are losing honour. I think we could win the next match because we are still a strong team, but our honour should not be lost in the world. Have a look around the world. They think Italians are so childish. I am very ashamed of it. I strongly believe that Italy deserve to win and Korea as well, so don't be crying like that.
Antonio,Italian in South Korea

Open Quote
Italian players are very good, but they do not have the 'killer instinct' of real champions
Close Quote
Name Here
Were the officiating calls against the Italian Team questionable? Slightly. Were they responsible for the game's outcome? Absolutely not. Though I didn't see Italy's previous games, all of Italy should stop complaining since it makes them look like poor losers (perhaps they are).

If Italy is a soccer superpower, then they are expected to make fewer mistakes, capitalize on scoring chances, possess a superior game plan, and display passion. They had several glorious and wide open chances to score and put the game away. They didn't. No offence to Vieri but he has got to bury those goals. It reality, the score should have been 3-1 in favour of the Italians.

Also, the defensive posture of the Italians (clearly the coach's fault) is what opened the door for Korea's comeback. If the coach and players would be men and take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof, instead of whining about this and that, then Italy might be ready to challenge for the World Cup in four years.
Bernard,Japan

Before the World Cup began I felt Italy could win once more but after watching some of their cynical tactics against Korea I'm glad and relieved my bet has been proven incorrect. Totti deserved the final red card. Just prior to his sending off in an off-the-ball incident with a Korean player he feigned being hit in the face when this was quite clearly untrue. In the penalty area you could see he was trying to fool the referee into giving a penalty.

Open Quote
Italians should blame their own typically negative style of game plan
Close Quote
Hugh MacCamley, Brunei
Furthermore, Italians should blame their own typically negative style of game plan: score the early goal and then sit back. This style of play is now out-of-date and they should have learnt that during the Euro 2000 campaign. Germany came unstuck against Ireland that way too.

Finally, whenever any referee gives a decision against an Italian player they are usually extremely rude in return and behave in what has become foe them a customary arrogant manner. Thankfully, we will not see them again this World Cup.
Hugh MacCamley, Brunei

To those who complain about the Italian's defensive and destructive game and say that Italy has lost due to their mentality I would just reply that we scored ten goals and five have been illegitimately disallowed.

This does not mean that Italy clearly has a problem in major competitions: Italian players are very good players but they do not have the "killer instinct" of the real champion. We have seen this in Euro 2000, in France 1998, in USA 94, back until Italy 90 when we had a team which really could have won the cup.
Edoardo, Italy

Open Quote
Italy is not a strong team but a mean team
Close Quote
Fairpl,Korea
With Italy not qualifying, the chances of there being a VERY good referee in the final are high - the Italian Pierluigi Collina will officiate correctly and fairly.
Fran Woon, Germany

As a fan of Italian football, I'm really disappointed again.Giving the finger at the photographer, refusing to give autographs to fans, pushing off and insulting the reporters at the airport.I was at the airport on the other occasion; I'm actually embarrassed for their behaviours.
Yoon, Korea

This World Cup has seen some of the most ridiculous refereeing decisions. At this level one expects a certain degree of competence. It's frustrating for players of the calibre of Vieri, Totti etc to have to witness such incompetence which eventually has cost them the tournament. The goal of Tommasi would have closed the match, but was unjustly disallowed. We would be talking about something else now.
Mauro, Italy

Italy, you are the king of sly and sinister boxing soccer!I'm very astounded by hitting the opponents with your elbows. Italy is not a strong team but a mean team!
Fairpl,Korea

I'd like to say something to Italy's coach. Your players should kick the ball, not players. Italy's most powerful weapon was obviously their elbows.
Damorime, Japan

Open Quote
The Italians have great players but they are mentally unprepared for big tournaments
Close Quote
Mike Hymanson,Italy
When Brazil won with a bad refereeing decision - against Turkey and Belgium, no one said anything, but why are they talking about referee for this match. All those people who thought Italy should've won think again, Italy had many chances but failed. They did not have right attitude at the end - substituting Del Piero for a defensive midfielder.Stop talking and play some soccer next time, Italy.
Fan,Australia

Italy, you squandered many chances and were beaten fairly by an agile and industrious team that stretched their energy level to bursting point in every aspect of the game.
Bruce Witton, Brit in USA

I believe that in recent years, the speed of the game has increased far beyond the capacity of most officials to correctly define what is legal or not on the pitch. However, one cannot blame the referees alone.

The Italians have great players but they are mentally unprepared for big tournaments.

There certainly wouldn't be any complaint by the Italians had the unfair decisions been against their opponents. Korea were worthy winners, as they played to the end and believed in themselves. They showed more stamina towards the end of the game and capitalised on Italy's mental weakness.
Mike Hymanson,Italy

While it was unfortunate that some really bad officiating contributed to the early exit of the much favoured Italians, the biggest mistake was the tactics employed by Trappatoni. There was enough talent in the squad to overcome bad officiating and, in my opinion, one of the gravest mistakes during the game was the substitution of Del Piero.
Ari Sirin, Canada

I am shocked by the attitude of the so-called leading football powers. First, it was Argentina, then Portugal and now Italy. They just don't seem to accept losing and that is bad for football in general.

This World Cup should be teaching people that the gulf between the football powers and the rest of the world is getting smaller and the sooner this is an accepted fact within these regions or countries the better.
Julius Seru Lusamukha, Kenya

Open Quote
Italy have always been defensive-minded but they are fools because they never learn by their mistakes
Close Quote
Paulo Loganio, England
To Rob P: If video replays were introduced, when and where would you use them? They would totally destroy the natural flow of the game and it is this flow that makes football the greatest game in the world.
Martin Thomas, England

Italy were eliminated from the World Cup mainly down to the simple fact that Vieri doesn't have a descent right foot.
Sanjay, India

The Italians deserved to lose. Any team with that amount of talent should always be positive and score goals. Italy have always been defensive-minded but they are fools because they never learn by their mistakes.

Italy were the best team in the 2000 Euro Championships, but they lost the final in the same fashion as the recent game against the Koreans. Refereeing decisions have gone against them I agree, but Italy should concern themselves more with using their wealth of ability on the pitch.
Paulo Loganio, England

Well done South Korea for knocking a very boring side out of the tournament. Korea had the right attitude from the first game; attack the game like it is your last and you might just get the result. The Italians always play the same grinding tactic of starting the game brightly until they score a goal and then playing a defensive counter-attack style, trying to hold onto the lead.

Open Quote
The two sitters missed by Vieri during normal time were far more important to the end result
Close Quote
Peter, UK
Italy do not enjoy playing in World Cups as the expectation is too high in Italy, where failure is not an option. You only see the best of Italy when they go a goal down and have to attack.
Nigel, England

If tactics had been different, Italy could have scored more goals early on and secured the match and a place in the next round.
Philip Milligan, Scot living in Italy

Italy are not the only side to have suffered from wrong decisions in this tournament and it hasn't always been down to officials with a lack of international experience. Isn't it about time we had video replays to assist the referee?
Rob P, UK

I agree Totti was unlucky to receive his second yellow card, but why appeal for a penalty when he knew it was a good tackle. Towards the end of the ninety minutes the referee had already given him a final warning after a bad foul. The offside was marginal and freeze-frame was inconclusive, but the ref blew early and the ball was dead well before going into the net.

The two sitters missed by Vieri during normal time were far more important to the end result than anything else. Italy have only themselves to blame for a poor performance and bad tactical choices.
Peter, UK

Open Quote
Referees do make mistakes, but so do players, making the game unpredictable and exciting
Close Quote
John Dougan, N.Ireland
Belgium had a legitimate goal disallowed but they still showed dignity in losing, despite Rivaldo's goal coming from a lucky deflection. We, the viewers, can see on slow motion replays that mistakes are made, but if you score one goal and sit back you have to deal with the consequences. This all reminds me of the boy who cried wolf - if you constantly try to trick the referee then you can hardly complain if he doesn't believe you when you are telling the truth!
Gary, Japan

I have supported Italy for 20 years (since the days of Rossi) and how many times have I witnessed a similar nail-biting scenario? Being 1-0 up and losing 1-2, like against France in Euro 2002, like against Croatia last week? Or sitting it out until penalties and losing it.

Yes, the refereeing Italy had to put up with was outrageous, not only in this match. Yet, I would have liked to see the team try a bit harder to score a second goal instead of them exclusively relying on the brilliant defensive skills of Iuliano and Maldini.
Henrik Rohmer, England/Germany

Italy's tactics are not the issue. It's the sour grapes. Italy missed a few chances and had a few decisions go against them, but that's football.

Players in general are getting themselves into this mess by faking injury giving the ref the impossible task of interrupting the tackle. It was not a penalty, the defender did clip Totti causing him to fall. Totti got sent off for that false appeal. Referees do make mistakes, but so do players, making the game unpredictable and exciting. Give the referees some support.
John Dougan, N.Ireland

Open Quote
I must admit that I was one of the smug English fans who laughed at Italy's self-inflicted demise.
Close Quote
Van Martin,England
Fifa decided a long time ago which teams will play the final of this very sad tournament: see what the referees do with Brazil, see what they do with Italy. The British can keep on talking about our defensive attitude, but with that attitude we would win the 4 matches we played, if the goals we scored weren't denied.
Tajo, Italy

I must admit that I was one of the smug English fans who laughed at Italy's self-inflicted demise. But having seen the game again, I do think that the referee was terribly. Totti's was not a sending off. The off-side call was wrong, and Korea got away with murder in the penalty Rea. But I must say that Italy's tactics of times past have come to hurt them in this tournament. But you have to say, they have been robbed of qualification because of a lot of bad, bad officiating and, in reality, nothing else.

Something must be done.
Van Martin,England

I've never seen worse and more biased refereeing than that against Italy today - it was outrageous. Italy should make an official complaint. Numerous fouls by Korea on Italy were just overlooked - eg deliberately kicking Maldini in the back of the head when he was on the ground, just for one - while completely indefensible calls were made against Italy. The offside 'decision' in extra time was plain wrong and sending off Totti - for tripping up - was just outrageous. This appalling refereeing materially affected the result of the game. Italy were robbed.
Poppy, UK

Open Quote
Such a wonderful bunch of players have brought nothing to this cup.
Close Quote
Harry, New Zealand
Italy certainly didn't do themselves any favours by sitting back and protecting a one goal lead, but to deny the fact that poor officiating wasn't the determining factor in the game would be ignorant.

Unfortunately, the entire World Cup has been plagued with poor officiating. How can FIFA honestly expect to run a world class soccer event and use officials that have little to no world class experience. Even linesman have marred many of the world cup matches because of their inability to distinguish between offside and onside.

Shame on you FIFA, you should know better. In the 2002 World Cup, the best team will not necessarily win. Unfortunately, there are too many other factors. Look out Brazil, Germany, and Spain.
Paul Deluca, Canada

Any team that score an early goal and then sit back to soak up the pressure play a dangerous and boring game. It's not attractive and it doesn't win over any neutrals - I for one am delighted that boring Italy are out. I have no sympathy for teams who try to stifle games.
Conleth, Ireland

Open Quote
All I can say about England fans' comment here is they were actually scared of Italy.
Close Quote
Mark Arm, Slovenia
Boring, boring Italy deserve to go home. Such a wonderful bunch of players have brought nothing to this cup. Sure they were hard done by referees during the tournament but for my mind that is only because they didn't put teams away instead trying to rely on a single goal against teams they should dismantle. This is a common trend with lately with Italy at the World cup (see 1994). I'd rather watch Senegal any day...next time play some football Italy!
Harry, New Zealand

I'd like to give some advice to the Italian coach. When a loser talks too much, it looks ugly.
CHO J.S., S.Korea

All I can say about England fans' comment here is they were actually scared of Italy. That's why they just blame the Italian team, not the referee. England also played with negative attitude against Argentina. They don't have any right to criticize Italy.
Mark arm, Slovenia

Italy are behaving like whingeing complaining bullies. I was disgusted by all their shirt pulling, tripping and shoving. Korea just played and played while Italy sat back and thought they would just defend.

I detect an element of racism too. How dare an Asian team beat a heavy weight European team? They can't possibly have played good football- they must have cheated!
Denise Kraus, Australia

Open Quote
I wonder if the biased refereeing we see in this world cup will end now that teams have been reduced to the last 8
Close Quote
Steve, England
Though, South Koreans effort paid off. But the referee was a disgrace to this tournament. He was not fair to the Italians from the start of the game ranging from good goal disqualification to the well deserved penalty and erroneous red card.
Olumide, Nigeria

The poor and unfair officiating ruined the game. Everyone lost. Korea won in disgrace. Italy lost while playing against 14 guys on pitch.We, football lovers lost, because we deserved to watch a fair game. It could have been a good game as the Koreans were really good, but the unfair decisions of the officials really made this game a shame.
Martin, Hong Kong


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