Live Blog: Italy Vs. Czech Republic

It's always important to have villains in international sports — because what's global goodwill except for an excuse for everybody to hold hands and smell of patchouli? — and last Saturday, Italy played the role right good. Now, of course, We Are All Italians. The United States needs to win its game, then have Italy win here. Not a draw, either; win.

But you knew that: It's Italy vs. Czech Republic, with the second round and all kinds of business on the line. You'll need to be following along both games here, we're afraid.

Your morning live-blogger is Geoffrey Thomas, who is going to be awesome. Follow along in the comments, have a fun time and, obviously, go Italy.

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Well, its over. A lot of people in the audience look pissed.

It's been a blast blogging this game for you all this morning. I hope you enjoyed it. If you are a disappointed about the USA going out, check out payingsodearly.blogspot.com for my article on who to root for when the US goes out (which I knew was inevitable!)

Italy did their job, but it doesn't look like enough to get the USA through to the next round.

stoppage time: Well, the Italians have booked their passage into the next round. Looks like Ghana gets the monumental task of playing Brazil in the next round. Italy could end up with Australia, who has been spunky so far. The Ghana- Brazil game should be fascinating stuff. As for this game, I'm just killing time until the ref blows the whistle, cause the Czechs haven't been in the game for awhile.

87th- Finally- a 4 man jail break leads to a 2 on Cech situation, with Inzaghi faking the pass and finishing in the empty net. It's 2-0 Italy, and this one is JUST about over.

83rd- Inzaghi nearly puts the game away, after some sketchy defending by Pirlo, but his header flashes wide of the post. The Czechs can't even get their hands on the ball

81th- Totti tries to chip Cech again. His teamates should stop making runs, cause he isn't passing.

80th- Hey, T-Moble is sponsering the man of the match thingy... just in case you didn't know. GET THE &#;^#$ graphic OFF the SCREEN!

80th- The Czechs make a sub. I'm not going to bore you with the details.

77th- I'm trying really, really hard not to rail on the announcers too much. I feel its one of those been there done that things in these live blogs. But just so you know, they are terrible.

74th minute- Camoernesi is off, probably my man of the match for Italy. He and Gattuso have been excellent controlling the midfield. I think Italy could insert me into the game and not be worse for the wear. Complete domination. The Czechs have looked defeated for the last 20 minutes.

72- The Czechs are putting toegether some possesion and looking a little better. Nedved forces Buffon into a nice save to his left.

69- Inzhagi pounces on a defensive mistake by the Czechs, but his effort goes just wide. That was an excellent chance to put the game away.

67- Both Gattuso and Totti have cracks at goal. At some point Cech will get one he can't stop. Just not here

64- Another corner for Italy. Header just wide by Cameronesi

60th- zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Gilardino is off in favor of Fellipo Inzagi. Yep. Italy actually brough another striker in. They want the second goal badly

56th- Italy works a great set piece. Italy is completely controlling this game. Only a matter of time before Italy nets another

52- Nedved just gets played through by Steiner. GREAT save by Buffon. For all the people who think Keller is the best in the world, please tune into this game for a minute. Both Cech and Buffon have been outstanding

50th- wow. Perrota just missed an empty net. Great chance for Italy to be 2-0. Baros gets blown for offsides. Hey!

47th- Italy is looking very sharp on the ball, Totti just tried to glory chip the goalkeeper when Gilardino was wide open next to him. That was a very nasty look from Gilardino, but deservedly so.

45th minute- we're rolling again, no apparent changes for either team.

OK, well it's 2-1 Ghana. The result of an Appiah penalty right before the half. Come on boys! The Italians are doing there part!! It's going to be a tense 45 minutes. God, ESPN is going to get its money out of those U2 commercials. I'm pretty sure they loop with the Adidas +10 commercials for every break during the World Cup. Time for food


It's halftime, and what a huge blow for the Czechs who now have to play the rest of the game a man down. Silly foul by Polak, who clearly earned the second yellow. The Czechs have dominated the first half, but have nothing to show for it. I'm sure Italy will be looking to grab a second goal to put things away early in the second half. Gattuso has been all over the place for Italy, really controlling the midfield. The Czechs need to find a way to get Rosicky more involved and get some more space for Nedved to operate in the midfield. Oh, wait. Nevermind.

Stoppage time: It's Red for Polak, who picked up the earlier yellow. Not Koller, my bad. His first yellow was questionable, but the second was not and its 10 on 11

It's USA 1-1 Ghana! Clint Dempsey with the goal and it's all to play for! My day just got a lot better.

43rd- Shep is still railing on the terrible marking by the Czechs on the Italian goal. Apparently they go over these things "on the chalkboard." Univision needs to start broadcasting in HD

40th- Italy is now officially playing hockey. They are hoofing it in and chasing. Just earned themselves a corner. Cleared by the Czechs

37th- as I was typing "if you want to watch a clinic on defensive soccer, turn this game on" the Italians have a terrible giveaway in the defensive third, but alas Nedved decides to shoot from 40 yards even though he was 3 on 2

35th- Card on Koller for his tackle on Camoronesi. Shep thinks it was a harsh decision, and well, I agree with him. But just this once

10:33- Prepare for traditional italian soccer: "Everyone behind the ball!" Terrible to watch, but extremely effective. They are letting the Czechs attempt to get through the wall of blue.

10:31- Terrible free kick from a dangerous spot by Poborski. 1-0 Italy, 1-0 Ghana, and apparently Reyna is hurt.

10:29- Much better play by Italy. They actually look interested in the game now. Azzuri fans are going NUTS in the stadium. Good times.

10:25- It's Materazzi! The sub for the injured great Nesta! What a great goal off the corner by Totti. Cech was left completely stranded on that play. Wide open. The goal comes against the flow of play, but hey we're all Italian today

10:25- GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Italy!

10:24- Great chance for Italy- Gattuso nearly got his header over Cech, but no dice

10:21- Ball stuck in midfield. Italy is playing like they want the game to end already

10:17- After a great chance from Nedved (saved by Buffon), Coach Lippi has take Nesta off in favor of Materazzi of Inter Milan. Anyone who has played FIFA 06 knows that's a huge blow

2:01: Baros is starting for the Czechs. Good news for Italy!
10:04- Italy is struggling, The Czechs are piling on the pressure
10:05- I hate Fransico Totti. I'm just praying he scores, then breaks his leg
10:06- Italy has a good attack set up by Grosso, couldn't find Totti at the end though.
10:08- Corner for Italy. Grosso is doing a nice job of getting forward from the back to get involved from the left side
10:08- Wow, Baros fails to control a great ball from Nedved. He was alone on Buffon but his first touch failed him. See, I told you Baros being in would be good for Italy. There's no way Koeller misses that chance
10:10- Nedved blast saved by Buffon. Whew... Let Baros take those. Nedved is playing like he's 10 years younger than 35
10:15- The czechs are holding looking like the better team so far.
10:16
So it comes down to this. We actually have to root for Italy. The footy certainly does make odd bedfellows! Anything could happen here, depending on how the teams want to play it. The Czechs certainly looked eviscerating against the U.S., then promptly soiled themselves against the quicker and more organized Ghanians. The Italians will look to play conservatively (read: boring) as they usually do, but Italy isn't safe here either. An Italian loss and a Ghana win could see the Czechs and Ghana advance, which would be a national crisis in Italy, they will be playing to win as well.

I would expect the Czechs to come out strong and try to get an early goal, with the Italians happy to defend for the first 60 minutes or so. After that, anything goes! Hopefully the Italians will get an early goal against Petr Cech, so we can relax and focus on Ghana!

Should be a great morning of soccer!

10:17- After a great chance from Nedved (saved by Buffon), Coach Lippi has take Nesta off in favor of Materazzi of Inter Milan. Anyone who has played FIFA 06 knows that's a huge blow

2:01: Baros is starting for the Czechs. Good news for Italy!
10:04- Italy is struggling, The Czechs are piling on the pressure
10:05- I hate Fransico Totti. I'm just praying he scores, then breaks his leg
10:06- Italy has a good attack set up by Grosso, couldn't find Totti at the end though.
10:08- Corner for Italy. Grosso is doing a nice job of getting forward from the back to get involved from the left side
10:08- Wow, Baros fails to control a great ball from Nedved. He was alone on Buffon but his first touch failed him. See, I told you Baros being in would be good for Italy. There's no way Koeller misses that chance
10:10- Nedved blast saved by Buffon. Whew... Let Baros take those. Nedved is playing like he's 10 years younger than 35
10:15- The czechs are holding looking like the better team so far.
10:16