First, it was Holland in The Crying Game, now we have Italy in The Diving Game. Against the US, Italy were on the ground more than they were on their feet, but that was to be expected, and the ref gave them every single call for every single dive, but that was against the lowly Americans - against Australia we expected the Italians to be treated a little less favorably, or Australia to be treated a little more favorably than were the Americans - it didn't happen.
Italy dove their way into the quarterfinals today, with a last-seconds dive in the penalty box of Australia. Shameful, but it's what the world expects from Italy, so nobody is too surprised. We can only hope that they all go to jail in the match-fixing scandal back in their home country. Maybe the ref is part of that match-fixing scandal, too? Just asking.
This article sums it up pretty well:
90 minutes in 90 words
The Aussies control possession with little joy while the Azzuri play route one football. The complexion of the match is defaced when Materazzi is sent off Dirty Harry style in 51st for lunging into Bresciano. Chipperfield hits an excellent shot on the turn in the 59th but the Aussies can't find the net. In the 93rd Grosso waltzes past one challenge before Neill falls at his feet letting the Italian dive spectacularly for the penalty. With the last kick of the game, Francesco Totti sends the Aussies back down under.
Grosso for maintaining the cliché about Italian players with his swan’s dive in the box.
Totti for then ensuring injustice was done by stroking the penalty home.
What have we learned?
That the old Italian rule of comedy football, if in doubt fall over, can still be made to work.
Another loss for this World Cup, for soccer, for sportsmanship, in general, for the noble idea that honor and decency means something, and being good and moral will get one ahead in this world.
UPDATE: San Jose Mercury News says 'Diving is Cheating and Diminishes Sport'. But that's not the best part - check out this insanely funny, top-secret training video of the Italian national team (well, it might as well be):
There are other montages that are hysterical. Those set to that final song in Platoon where what's his name is getting chased and gunned down by the Viet Cong. Another set to Chumbawumba's "I get knocked down". Too frickin funny.