Arrivederci, Italia! : Show Me Your Cleats! - World Cup 2010 Blog 'Cleats' says ciao to Italian diving and faking, and Mary J. Blige provides the soundtrack for today's World Cup defeat with her hit single, "No More Drama!"
NPR logo Arrivederci, Italia!

Arrivederci, Italia!

Earlier this week, I let loose a rant about Italy’s insidious diving and faking. It came off as slimier than usual in the wonderful New Zealand draw. The ESPN commentator called their performance “deeply pathetic.”

Italy's Fabio Quagliarella is emotional after his team's loss to Slovakia: 3-2.  We are assuming his tears are real, this time. Bernat Armangue/AP hide caption

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Bernat Armangue/AP

Now I along with millions of other anti-fans of Italian drama on the pitch, can indulge in a full schadenfreude gloat over Italy’s basting by Slovakia and their elimination.

Nah nah, na nah nah.

It is high drama to see the reigning champion ousted in group play. They couldn’t even put together a single win in the weakest group at the Cup, drawing Paraguay and New Zealand before capitulating to the Slovakian putsch. And never before have both finalists in the prior cup (Italy and France) been eliminated in group play.

The breast-beating may be more melodramatic in France, but the cries for blood will be more passionate in Italy, although the coach has already announced his departure.

Why wasn’t Andrea Pirlo, the distribution master of the Italian side, used until the 56th minute of the final game? Why didn’t Italy show the hunger displayed when they scored twice in the last ten minutes against Slovakia earlier in the tournament? Perche?

I would prefer to see Italy’s deeply pathetic defeat as a moral triumph of virtue of the vice of soccer baby-ball playacting. A parochial view, I know.  And obviously diving and faking will continue to pollute the tournament, though maybe a little less.

So I’ll have to settle for the basic headline: Italy Out, Slovakia, Paraguay In!