Surprise, surprise Denmark and Sweden drew 2-2 to send Italy out of Euro 2004. I’m not suggesting any sort of collusion (though some are), but it was strange that the Swedes should equalise almost at the same moment that Italy scored their winning goal against Bulgaria. But where on earth did the ref get five minutes added time in the latter game?
So conspiracies can work both ways. The Italians will seethe about it tomorrow and in the days ahead, yea until Germany 2008 when I predict the young lad Cassano will have a great tournament, but they will still crash out, and for the same reasons.
The modern Italian team is the same as those that went before — supreme skill, doughty defence, but lacking teamwork and ambition.
But every cloud has a silver lining — Italy’s exit must more or less guarantee that Pierluigi Collina will referee the final which, with luck and a following wind, England will be contesting.