Not only did Italy upset Spain on Monday, but Iceland upset England, as I’m sure everyone has already heard. England started off well with a successful penalty kick by Wayne Rooney after three minutes. It looked like it skimmed the post (see here), so even though the goalie dived in the right direction, he couldn’t reach it. (And this is why I always emphasize shooting accuracy when taking a penalty kick. Why bother with guile when pure skill wins the day every time?) Unfortunately for England, Iceland was able to equalize within about a minute. That has to have been very demoralizing for the English, and it was followed up about twelve minutes later by Iceland’s second goal, which proved to be the winning goal. Listen here for the hysterical commentary in Icelandic.
Getting back to Italy’s win, I have to say that when I watch Germany, I understand why they win. Ditto for other countries that win like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain. However, I have yet to figure out what Italy is doing that allows them to win so often. I did notice that they were quite different from Spain when the two of them played on Monday. Spain likes to make an endless number of passes outside of the penalty area as they wait for just the right moment to make an attempt at goal. Italy was the exact opposite. When they got near Spain’s penalty area, they would send the ball into the area fairly quickly, either as a shot or a pass or a cross. By the time they scored their first goal in the 33rd minute, they had already had several good chances at getting a goal. I loved it!