Whither Italia

It was a great game yesterday, and the Italians surprised me with their effectiveness in controlling the midfield in the first half without Totti. But del Piero and Vieri were miserable in front of goal and squandered too many chances, missing the opportunity to put the game away early. Sweden didn’t win as I had predicted, but the draw puts them in the driver’s seat for the group. Denmark, as expected, had no trouble with Bulgaria and could easily have doubled its two goals.

Italy has to worry now, as a 2-2 draw or higher will knock them out of the tournament even if they beat Bulgaria. In any case, I suspect Trappatoni will be out of a job unless the Azzurri come home with the trophy. They won’t be able to blame anything on a Uruguayan referee this time.

As for today’s games, I expect Germany to trounce Latvia and Holland to win a tight game against the Czechs. The latter could go either way, but I expect the orange-clad head cases to pull it together for a change. The Czechs weren’t great against Latvia and as the German game proved, Holland has enough talent to rescue it even on nights when the team isn’t playing well.