Fun Friday: Italy vs Spain

Since AVC has a global audience, we are going to talk about the global sport today – football, or as we call it in the US, Soccer.

My son and I have been watching the EURO 2012 games since the early matches. When we got over to europe, we scouted out the best sports bars and have been going to them after dinner to watch the games. We've been taking an "anyone but Spain" approach as we like to root for the underdogs (we are Mets & Jets fans in NYC).

Portugal was our team but Spain took them out in a shootout on Wednesday night. Balotelli's big game last night was enough to get us onto Italy's bandwagon. So we'll be rooting for Italy on Sunday.

How about you?

#Sports

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    I’m sick and tired of Spain’s ‘purity’ of football talk and their tiki taka.I was really hoping Germany would give Italy a thrashing yesterday but whaddya know..So, I’m calling a 4-3 win for Italy on penalties after a dead boring game with Spain putting us all to sleep for 120 minutes.

    1. fredwilson

      i sure hope you are wrong about a “dead boring” game. what do you make of Balotelli?

      1. Rohan

        He’s a young punk. Potentially a great player but for now, really unpredictable and pretty inconsistent. You never know if it’s going to be Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde turning up. So, he could be the star but there’s an almost equal probability that he’ll get himself red-carded for venting frustration.I sure hope I’m wrong about ‘dead boring’ game too. But Spain is really Barcelona with Lionel Messi and Lionel Messi scored 60 odd goals this season with the second highest scorer <20.It shows with spain too. They average somewhere around 1.15 goals a game. It’s just so hard to score against them. So, 1-0 is all they need.But as they say, this is football. If the Italians score an early goal, it could just be a cracker!

        1. Chris Mottes

          I think the Italians will play offensively all the way through and force the Spaniards come out to play. Mymoney is on a cracker, even 2-0 up against Germany in the semi they didn’t revert to the old style of shutting down the game, they went for more till the last minute. Forza!

        2. Nick

          Messing plays for Argentina.It was a nice moment at the end of the game today when Baliotelli was hugged by the elderly Italian woman.Forza Italia!

          1. Nick

            *Messi

          2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            He is talking about Barcelona club.

          3. jason wright

            Wasn’t that elderly woman his adoptive mother?

      2. teegee

        Balotelli is one of those players you know will add ‘value’ to any game. Might be a brilliant goal (or two, like yesterday), might be a show of arrogance, might be a red card. But you know he’ll provide entertainment. Brilliant player now, potential to become one of the very best. People forget he’s still only 21 – and has had to contend with racist remarks from crowds during the Euros (and questionable support from back home – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/…. His striking partner Cassano was much worse at the same age…I hope he does the same to Spain on the weekend! Enjoy soaking up the atmosphere in Europe (at a decent time of day)!

      3. matthughes

        If it’s possible, I’m not sure he got enough credit for that second goal against Germany.That was an awesome display of power and finesse.

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      I’m also tired of that purity talk. I don’t agree that many passes are always good and sometimes I get bored with Spain games. I prefer a more direct approach to most things, including football.

    3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      I actually enjoy the ball control and high quality passes. Still, during their last game many of the locals in the crowd were hissing and whistling every time Spain passed the ball!!

    4. John Best

      Agreed about the purity nonsense – passing and holding possession is good, but ultimately pointless if you can’t do anything with it when you have it.

      1. Rohan

        Agree agree [email protected]:disqus I’m okay with the game. It’s admirable at some level. Gets really boring at times.. really really [email protected]:disqus [email protected]:disqus I sure hope you are right. International football tends to underwhelm more often than not.

  2. Scott Barnett

    I’m in the UK on business and was *really* hoping for an England v. Germany semifinal, so I could experience a native crowd. Alas, the football was still fun, but not nearly as passionate. I also wish I could like the game more, I still much prefer American football.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      An English pub, awash with fuelled-up fans supporting England, when playing well/winning, is a pretty intense experience, for sure. Especially when it is versus Germany. Gets pretty heady. That’s why it is so sad we are under performing – not so much the lack of winning trophies but the being deprived of such moments in the latter rounds of competitions. So jealous of the roller-coaster of emotions Spain and Italy fans will have this weekend. Enjoy!

  3. Michael FitzGerald

    Ireland were in the same qualifying group as Spain and Italy… what hope did we have? πŸ™‚ … but I think we won the “best fans competition” Balotelli’s finish for the 2nd goal last night was class.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Completely agree regarding Irish fans. Their behaviour was amazing. My girlfriend, also Spaniard, was really sad to see Spain win the game because she felt so moved by them.

    2. Chris Mottes

      The Irish supporters left me in awe, 4-0 down and they drowned the voices of the local supporters, t’was a thing of beauty that hopefully will be remembered every EURO from now on as the standard to match!

    3. johndefi

      Irish fans absolutely get the “best fans” award. They were in full support, especially while knowing they were heading out towards the end of the third game!

    4. Pete Griffiths

      Yeah – that second goal was phenomenal.

    5. Miljenko Hatlak

      As it shows up, this was the toughest group on the Euro, not the one with Germany, Portugal and Netherlands. I regret Ireland didn’t won a point in a games against Italy or Spain. Good play from Ireland and Croatia! More luck next time! Proud to be a Croat !

  4. David_Ragone

    I was rooting for the young German team yesterday, but sadly they couldn’t do much against Spain. I rarely watch, thanks to being in the US (not great domestic, time difference makes the Euro leagues impossible to watch live), but am working from home currently so am taking advantage of the flexibility and have been watching the games. It’s been fun.

  5. John

    Italia!

  6. hesky kutscher

    Well I thought that Italy beat England because the lions didn’t play well, I have changed my stance- Italy played very well… as a 39 year old guy fun to see a guy like Pirlo play so well even though he is close to my age πŸ™‚ – Spain exemplifies beautiful soccer I hope they winPS Fred Italy is hardly an underdog winning 3 world cups..

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Completely agree regarding underdogs. I’ve grown seeing the Spanish team lose match after match against all the big teams. Spain had only won an international competition in 1964. Four years ago things changed and we’ve won Euro 2008 and Word Cup 2010, but Italy is still much bigger in football history.

    2. David Semeria

      Four

  7. Fernando Gutierrez

    Ouch! I don’t really follow football a lot, but being the Spaniard here I feel obliged to shout: NO WAY!I’m travelling today and I will be most of the day in meetings or driving, but I’ll try to defend my team from your insidious attacks πŸ™‚

  8. Lee Blaylock

    Balotelli’s high beta in both play and emotion, but when he’s on, he’s the real deal. Azzuri defense brings home the guida in this one. I’m a Spain fan though too. Best teams are in the finals. Deutschemanschaft defense got exposed like Janet’s wardrobe malfunction.

  9. Chris Mottes

    The real beauty of the game last night was shown by the passes to Ballotelli from Riccardo Montolivo and Cassano respectively. Super Mario showed extreme skill in closing the deal, but I wish football tracked and celebrated assists the way hockey does. Forza Italia, Spain will feel the pain on Sunday πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson

      Assists are also valued in basketball. Great point about those two passes.

    2. johndefi

      I believe the first one was Pirlo to Chiellini to Cassano to Balotelli. Pirlo does not get an assist, but the ball to Chiellini was beautiful.

    3. JamesHRH

      I assume it would be tough to award just one or two, as @johndefi:disqus points out – the build up was terrific on the first goal.And the pass on the second one deserved 2 assists!

  10. John Best

    Italy. They were my dark horse choice from the start. It’d probably salve some English egos if we were knocked out by the eventual winners too.

  11. Philip Smith

    Portugal played too negatively and deserved to lose. That said, there is something jaded about Spain – as if the players are just worn out or unmotivated. What’s with this playing with no real striker (Fabregas is a creative midfielder, not a point guy)? Germany surprisingly poor today after dominating their earlier games. Too much focus on mixing up the players as the games progress mean no real cohesion or chemistry (just like in a startup, chemistry is a huge factor – bigger than individual talents). Italy getting stronger as the tournament goes on. Balotelli’s two magnificent goals, yes, but they were the superb end results of the team efforts. Italy to win the final – momentum, chemistry, motivation, spirit.So, when will the U.S. be able to compete as a peer on the world stage? Could the U.S. beat any of these teams consistently? Yes, we beat Italy in a friendly recently. Yes, on any day any team has a chance against any other. But consistently, game after game??Despite finally having a great coach in Klinsmann (amateurs like Arena and Bradley, completely useless) it will be decades yet – if ever. Why is this, when so many kids play at the grass roots level and love the sport? There are lots of reasons – parents pushing them into the “traditional” American sports, for example. But the huge one is that there is no consistent system of quality coaching in one curriculum to bring the best players forward. This is how Ajax in Netherlands or many other top clubs work. Read this great article in the New York Times and you’ll understand how in the Stone Ages U.S. soccer development is. WIth a few exceptions like Donovan, the best U.S. players only get that way if they get into another system – typically in Europe – or where the position skills are unique (there are some top U.S. goalies – Howard, Friedel etc – all playing in Europe). What happened to Freddy Adu? The feeble, fragmented U.S. “system” cannot help potential stars like this. If he had gone to Ajax he could now be great. he would at least have had the chance but the big MLS contract actually sealed his fate. He was locked into a non-system that could not help him. If you want any proof of the lack of a system, go watch an MLS game. We support the Earthquakes – our local team and a top club in MLS this season. But the reality is that almost any team in the 4th or 5th tier of English league soccer – Luton Town, Fleetwood Town, Stevenage, Accrington, for crying out loud – could beat these guys, hands down, every day.What’s our best hope right now? Well, its probably that the top European clubs are expanding their presence here – partly to increase their global appeal (and use us as practice fodder) but also to start spotting top talent here at the most junior level and siphon them off into their systems. There – if their parents are bold enough – our kids will have the opportunity to develop into stars. Bad for the future of MLS – they will never play here, unless they are not good enough for over there. Good for the U.S. national team, because they will still be our players. Maybe the U.S. system will change over time. Regrettably it won’t be in my lifetime. Ah well …

  12. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I am not going to watch the finals match…it is definitely going to be boring … may be highlights next day morning to know who was more boring.Seriously … It is no fun watching the matches from 12:30 mid-night and see your favorite team (Portugal) goes out on a shoot out.

  13. Luis Alberola

    It’s Spain, if we get our game to the next level, otherwise …

  14. David Semeria

    Someone suggested that instead of a trophy, they should play for the bailout money.Now that would spice it up a bit….

    1. fredwilson

      Spain and Italy. Bailouts and football supremacy. Coincidence or correlation?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Interesting. Certainly a correlation between England’s apathetic performance (again) and our key (allegedly) players such as Rooney ‘earning’ some Β£200k per week. No hunger/desire. Spain and Italy’s players are no doubt all earning pretty crazy money at their clubs but they manage to retain the desire and passion. Maybe the correlation is lifestyle/culture?

        1. John Best

          I thought there were certainly less egos in the England camp this year, but yes, I agree that the perception that playing to represent your nation as an accolade has sadly faded.

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Apropos national psyche/habits, not football per se (but the two are correlated of course), and a book I can thoroughly recommend is Billy Bragg’s ‘The Progressive Patriot – A Search for Belonging’ – for me it encapsulates much of why we feel so passionate about the game and our country/identity. He’s a great singer/songwriter of course, and on the basis of this book, a damn good writer/thinker, also… (was a read in one sitting book – QED).http://www.amazon.co.uk/The

        1. karen_e

          I’m a longtime Billy Bragg fan. Great to know he’s written a book!

      3. Fernando Gutierrez

        And Portugal in semis too…I think there is some correlation. If as a country you care too much about the wrong things (sports in this case), you may end up badly. Not sure about Italy, but in Spain almost all teams (not the big ones that are profitable by themselves) depend somehow on public money and that is an aberration.

      4. Elia Freedman

        When times are bad, it is much easier to root for sports. The distraction of football away from the economic issues is not surprising.

      5. Guest

        I think people see the sport as a “great equalizer”, and in societies where there is significant social struggle and a big economic divide, it incites a kind of hunger that you just don’t see in places like England or the US. I think that’s why you see great players from countries such as Spain or Brazil. As for Germany… well, those guys are just obsessed with performance, as a nation, so they’re the exception to the rule!

      6. Otto

        If there was correlation between bailouts and football supremacy the USMNT would win the World Cup.

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Lol. Having watched (as per usual) The Sopranos (again) last night, after the match, I think Tony’s boys should run FIFA, The IMF, The World Bank, et al. They have infinitely more integrity than the present incumbents πŸ˜‰

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Agreed. FIFA make the mafia seem like a bunch of nuns.

    3. Fernando Gutierrez

      If we consider bailouts I think all teams should have let the Germans win the Euro. If they are going to pay for the party at least let them enjoy it!

  15. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Italia! A Tutto Gas!!Italy are the Sheffield Wednesday of international football πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson

      Why?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Like Rome, Sheffield was built on seven hills πŸ™‚

        1. John Best

          I love that you compare Rome to Sheffield, not the other way round πŸ™‚

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            We taught them everything they know πŸ˜‰

        2. fredwilson

          Good answer

        3. ttasterisco

          So is Lisbon πŸ™‚

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            A pattern is emerging… all the best cities are πŸ˜‰

          2. Abs Ghosh

            and Istanbul πŸ™‚

  16. CoolAssPuppy

    Spain plays the soccer equivalent of hockey’s neutral zone trap and football’s Tampa 2. Boring. It’ll get them the championship they covet, but I’ll be bored watching. I’m rooting for Italy, but don’t think that’ll be the outcome.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      The funny thing is that it used to be the other way. Italy was known for their Catenaccio (defensive play). And they won four World Cups. Spain used to try more beautiful things, but we used to lose, sometimes against Italy. Lesson: unless you do it amazingly well, defence brings better results.

    2. JamesHRH

      Prashant – ridiculously astute comparisons. Spain totally subscribes to the ‘defence wins championships’ school of thought.

  17. Humberto

    Portugal is the country of Fado (derived from Fate), we pro-mysticism, we believe in heroes not in specs. and then we lose!but thanks for the support!now i sure hope italy blasts through those damned spanish!

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Portugal was (is) a classy team. Pity they didn’t make it to the final.

  18. William Mougayar

    2 words ~ Balotelli & ItalyMake it one: Balotalia

    1. fredwilson

      Nice one

  19. Thomas Ilk

    My favorite teams before the euro cup were England, Russia, Denmark and Portugal.Without any hope of course I also rooted for the Irish, since their fans are simply the best in the world.I can’t say I am happy about the two finalists, but I’d prefer by far if Italy wins, since they play a more interesting football (which is incredible considering that Italy was known for its boring and defensive approach to the game) and since Andrea Pirlo is the best player of the tournament.

    1. fredwilson

      we were rooting for Denmark before they lost. then we moved to Portugal. now I guess its Italy.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        My underdog team (shocking that they should become seen as underdogs) was Holland/Netherlands – always loved them, being the inventors of ‘Total Football’ – so sad they have become pretty woeful over recent years. I didn’t even get a chance to wear my splendid vivid Holland replica shirt – much to my wife’s relief (she refuses to be seen with me if I wear my Sheffield Wednesday replica shirt, lol – let alone my bright orange Holland shirt!).

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Apropos nothing at all, Fred, what are you finding/feeling re: Europe on your travels re: The Euro, European economy in general? Any thoughts?

        1. fredwilson

          I love Europe. All of it. From north to south and east to west. I think from an economic point of view the best opportunities are from the 18th to 20th meridian where people are trying to improve their lot not just maintain it

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Cool, ta. Indeed. Makes sense.

      3. jason wright

        If you’d been taking equity stakes would you have made the same choices? πŸ™‚

  20. martinowen

    As a Manchester City supporter – how can one not support Balotelli …. oops! what about David Silva?

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      That England/Italy penalties psyche shoot-out between Hart and Balotelli was classic mind-games stuff.

      1. martinowen

        Even moreso in the France game with Hart, Lescott and Nasri as the significant factors…. Anyway – being Welsh I was emotionally detached from England’s team.I watched most of the games from Andorra – a Catalan country with a substantial Portugeuse population – much fireworks.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          I am half-Welsh (Welsh parents – from Caernarfon – but I was born in England) so is tricky for me sometimes when we are in the same tournaments – if it is rugby I tend to suddenly become 100% Welsh as to me rugby is the true Welsh game, anyway – compounded by the fact I was born and bred in Rugby, Warwickshire!

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Anyway, I consider myself a ‘Yorkshireman’ (by marriage) first and foremost, nowadays πŸ˜‰

          2. Fernando Gutierrez

            I guess that Wales playing great rugby lately also helps!

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Absolutely, Fernando – mercenary, moi?! – I was pretty quiet for a few years πŸ˜‰

  21. Fr3kySnail

    Interesting perspective of an outsider looking into the #Euro2012 tournament. You must me the alternate version of Sting’s “Englishman In New York”.I back the underdog stance of going for Italy. True football aficionados will tell you that Italy are far from underdogs, in this clash of the titans. Imagine a final with the Heat and Lakers, stats and history will always back the Lakers, with current form going with the Heat. There in lies the final that behold the titans of Spain and Italy.Let’s hope for a cracking match for both fans, and neutrals.Don’t miss the match: See your time-zone here: http://www.worldtimezone.co

  22. SΓ©rgio Santos

    Portugal, of course, but we got bad luck πŸ™

    1. FlavioGomes

      Alves shouldn’t have gone for the kick a second time. I think that screwed with his brain.

  23. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I will be cheering for Italy – still some Italians are still gloomy about their economy. I just got this email from an Italian friend in Milan “It was a good match indeed. I enjoyed … unfortunately we are going to lose the most important match with Frau merkel today…”

  24. Luis Correa d'Almeida

    Good to hear you were supporting Portugal πŸ™‚ I’ve liked Italy’s playing since the beginning of the competition, they can definitely catch Spain on the break and have a real chance.

  25. RichardF

    It was the night of the underdog. Italy beating Germany and Nadal being blown off the court by Rosol at Wimbledon. In both cases the underdog played way better than the favourite.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Whatever next? Murray to win Wimbledon? πŸ˜‰

      1. RichardF

        only if Federer and Djokovic get knocked out too Carl!

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          The only way Murray will ever win is if he switches gender categories πŸ˜‰

          1. RichardF

            lol

      2. JamesHRH

        The pre-Crash Davis Nuke Laloosh of tennis. $1M arm, ten cent head.My guy – Milos Raonic – got a case of the Murrays, while losing to Querry (CDN content rules apply). Milos post-match comments “I had two set points in the tiebreaks. I waited for him to make mistakes. I only stepped up when he was serving to win’.Playing to ‘not lose’ defines Murray, which means he will never win. It rarely defines Milos, so I am hoping this is in aberration.Man, men’s tennis is awesome right now.

  26. Steve Papas

    First post to your blog Fred, had to jump in since it was about Soccer!Looking forward to this one, as usual Italy is gaining steam as the tournament goes on. They are notorious slow starters and usually scrape through in the group stages but are money when it matters. That will be the difference here I think, the Italians have that big game experience as a nation – they have been in this spot many times.The Spaniards on the other hand are the defending champs and will have the pressure that comes with that.. and they just don’t look as good as they have previously as a team.

  27. andyswan

    It’s going to take a lot of prop-bets to get me interested in watching soccer…but this seems like a big one…. Let’s do it!

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Before you know it, you’ll be a Sheffield Wednesday fan πŸ˜‰

    2. Rohan

      Don’t know. Big games like this tend to underwhelm. Club football >>>>> International football

  28. jacopogio

    Italia ! of course ;-)When the Squadra wins it is one of the only things that keeps, us Italians, all together and in this difficult times Unity by Sport is one of the safest options…In this EURO2012 Italy has proved that the Best Individual Players (Germany) do not beat a Team as the Best Individual Engineers do not build the best Products.And yes, Italians love to be the underdogs … when we manage to win in the end ! ;-)Calcio (our Football-Soccer name) is a tradition in Italy not only in big cities but also in small cities. Alessandro Diamanti, who scored the last penalty against England, in 2006 when Italy was World Champion, at 23y was still playing in the Semi-pro league in 3rd devision!So, join Italia!Forza Italia!

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Of course you also have Ferrari in F1 to unite/uplift you, when they win. The escapism and unity/pride sport provides is unique and so precious. We underestimate its transformational powers. Huge potential here which I have considered how we could better manifest. Still pondering…

      1. jacopogio

        right, but main difference with F1 is that every boy (an probably girl) in Italy has at least once shot a ball really well and had felt the same sensation of Mario Balotelli when he scored his second gol (Italian word for goal) πŸ˜‰

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Very true, good point. All about empathy. I used to love F1 but find myself increasingly detached from it, emotionally. I like the technology and business model Bernie Ecclestone has developed/exploited so successfully, and when I watch it is from that perspective, increasingly. Football is so simple, that’s the beauty of it…

    2. Shawn Cohen

      Speaking of names for the game, the hardest thing for me in all this is hearing British NPR correspondents refer to it as “soccer” and not “football”:)

      1. matthughes

        I like to call it “European soccer.” πŸ˜‰

  29. Dave Pave

    I like donkey kong?!

  30. goldwerger

    Italy’s first goal against Germany yesterday was inspiring, that did it for me….

  31. Michal Illich

    This is fun topic? When I read the title in my reader I thought it’ll be about who will bankrupt first – Italy or Spain?

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. We talked a bit about that elsewhere in this thread

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Neither. England! πŸ˜‰

  32. Mac Lackey

    What is great about futbol/soccer is that it unites the globe around a single game, with lots of passion, lots of heart and many times the pride of a nation at stake. there is no larger or more passionate global demographic. I’m a Spain supporter but hope for a great match beyond anything.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      My biggest delight has been how trouble-free the event has been – there were some scare stories over here re: racism in Poland/Ukraine – especially Ukraine. It has transpired this was (to be expected) media scaremongering, thankfully – the tournament has been peaceful (apart from some crowd confrontation re: Poland/Russia but that’s a different story) and joyful in general it seems – the UK media who have been on-site have lauded the hospitality of both countries. This is one the best results from Euro2012. Take note, bankers and politicians – what matters is real people, real lives. Europe is an especially complex place but when we focus on pure and simple pleasures all is harmonious. Roll on Sunday – will be a great match – may the best team win!

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        If there is no crowd confrontation there is no soccer πŸ™‚ part of the charm.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          To a degree, yes – in Sheffield we are deprived this season of our ‘confrontation’ (‘derby’ context) as the city’s ‘other’ team (United) failed to get promotion (unlike us, now one step away from a return to The Premiership!) but some of the Poland/Russia scenes from the streets pre/post-match were potentially violent and could not be considered rivalry/banter. Daft scheduling of match anyway, with emotive history, on Russia Day. Anyway, all went well during match.

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            Carl you will be surprised to know that on the streets of Calcutta (India) crowd confrontation happens for Euro cup … can you believe that?For world cup street fight happens between fans supporting Argentina and Portugal how interesting is that. Crazy that may sound and that is something I have never understood about these people here.I am off the grid now … have a great weekend and enjoy the finals.

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            That is indeed bizarre, Kasi! Great weekend, also – cheers!

    2. ShanaC

      except in the US….

      1. matthughes

        That is certainly changing…I’m thinking about making the trek to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup to wave the Stars & Stripes.

  33. Donna Brewington White

    I have no idea!

  34. David Miller

    The games start at 2:45pm EST so I’ve been taping them and watching after dinner … it’s awesome. I don’t know why the US can’t get into soccer.My heart is with Italy but my brain is with Spain. If Italy plays as well as they did against Germany and Spain plays as poorly as they did against Portugal, Italy has a chance.

    1. FlavioGomes

      Its just not as fast a pace as the Americans are used to. Once folks get a feel for the flow of the game and appreciate the passing, foot work and strategy, rather than just scoring…then the perspectives change.

      1. David Miller

        We like baseball, don’t we?

      2. Fernando Gutierrez

        I’m not so sure about pace. (American) football is very slow with all it’s interruptions. Baseball can be painfully long… The thing I’m not sure Americans can handle is matches finishing in a tie.

  35. johndefi

    Azzuri! What Italy needed earlier in the competition was to finish. Many chances to score were near misses or not delivered quickly enough. I’m excited to see this more attacking Italian side and believe they will continue to improve. They finished better yesterday and hope to carry on into the final.

  36. baba12

    Well Mr.Wislon I had put $20 in a pool at a local bar in Brooklyn, I had bet Spain versus Germany as the finals with Germany finally winning it all. Now that I have lost the bet, I am rooting for Italy, though the odds are stacked against them.For the Germans it is sad as not only do they loose to Italy, they have to bail out both Spain and Italy pretty soon and for that they will not get rewarded in any way or form.Enjoy drinking some good pilsner while you watch on Sunday… EEE TAA LEE….

  37. Steve

    Definitely Italy as well – I was hoping the Germans would win yesterday (I lived there for a while) but the Italians deserved to win. Spain hasn’t really played well yet, and while it seems funny to root against such a group of talented purists, they have been pretty boring to watch for a while now – the WC Semi against Germany and Final against Holland are good examples (snooze). Let’s see the Italians attack with Cassano and Balotelli and take it home.

  38. Tom Labus

    Can any of these guys dunk? #nba

    1. FlavioGomes

      They can dunk…with their feet.

  39. awaldstein

    I love enthusiasm and a sucker for inspired market groupings but I”m so on the outside of this one.For once…a bystander. A lurker!

  40. Emilio Kagmat Estevez

    I’ll go for Spain’s immortality in sports history, arguably the best team ever.

  41. reece

    i’ve got Portuguese citizenshipnothing hurts more than a loss to Spaingo Italy

  42. Guest

    I have family in Spain so I have to root for them. If you’re ever in the Lancaster, PA area

  43. Lee Blaylock

    Go long on Japan being first to go bankrupt after Greece. Greece % of debt to GDP is around 165%. Most would be surprised to know that Japan is almost 210%. But we live in a country where most come from European descent and fewer from Asia so we look over the Atlantic first. + Japan’s debt is mostly held by its own people. It is a very hot cauldron though.

  44. ShanaC

    I have no one to watch football with… πŸ™

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Go to a sports bar.

  45. takingpitches

    For someone who’s obsessed in every which way with American football, I had mostly always ignored the other football.So while we were in Spain during the World Cup in 2010, I was surprised how much I took to that football. Few things in my life have been as blissful than sitting at a sunny outdoors bar in front of a big screen, Sangria in hand, surrounded by Spaniards happy at the performance of their national team.That’s why I have to go with Vamos La Furia Roja!

  46. CamiloALopez

    Rooting for underdogs is more fun. If they win is great, if they loose you were mentally prepared. Italy vs Spain is a classic and I would have loved to see other teams in the finals. Teams that usually do not get there like: Sweden, or Ireland.I’m rooting for Spain, they are playing good soccer and I lived in Barcelona for 2 years. I like how Spain is playing, it is a beautiful touch and go game. They are missing more strikers.Italy’s balotelli is very good but it is all about the team.

  47. jimmystone

    I’m a Holland fan. We’ve had better….

  48. matthughes

    I have never understood pulling for the underdog.I hope the Yankees win Euro 2012.

  49. Guest

    lol. nice to know you enjoying your europe tour fred. as a baller, it’s hard to resist watching football in europe. i was basically for germany, but after watching mario on youtube before the match yesterday i knew this guy is the killer. would love to see this football-denis rodman score again. he is playing his own game.

  50. FlavioGomes

    Funny enough, since my team got knocked out by Spain you think I’d be rooting for Italy. But I’m neutral. I just want to watch a great match and hopefully some beautiful plays. I’ll be applauding each goal and brilliant foot work regardless which side. Soccer, Futebol, whatever you call it…is likely one of the only sports where you can really just enjoy the beauty of game and not really worry about a “winner” in my opinion.

  51. Bryan J Wilson

    As a Frenchman, it pains me to say this, but I’m rooting for the Italians (head explodes). Those Spaniards have become insufferable (though I like Xabi Alonso – hell of a player).

  52. Guest

    If we do pattern recognition and play the statistics of the previous encounters between the two teams, Italy just might edge it:* http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.c…However, it really depends on three main factors for the Italian team:(1.) Their play-maker, Pirlo, versus Spain’s Fabregas in midfield. Technically, Pirlo is more deft and team-oriented in the way he places passes to his team-mates but Fabregas has youth and pace on his side.(2.) Defensively, Spain are a little bit tighter and fresher and managed to frustrate “Super Mario” (this is Balotelli’s nickname, btw) in their first game.In the final, they’ll probably try to man-mark him even closer, aggravate him to lose his composure and throw Balotelli with the offside trap — although Pirlo is known to deliver balls that go over the heads of defenders to him at a pace and dip that just puts Balotelli onside and ready to accelerate away from defenders.(3.) Spain’s goal-keeper, Casillas, has only conceded 1 goal during this tournament……Against Italy in the first round.If Spain wins the final, it would be his 100th win for his national team which is a remarkable milestone to aim for — especially one that also means they win Euro 2012.Hopefully, it’s going to be a full-on, attacking game from both sides with 3+ goals. The worst scenario would be if they play safe and staid and the championship gets decided on penalties.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      I don’t see 3+ goals. Spain keep trying to walk the ball into the net and their scoring rate is low. But here’s hoping.

      1. Guest

        VoilΓ , 3+ goals as I predicted; final score line — Spain 4, Italy 0.My mother got first family pick of who to root for. She chose Italy which left me with Spain.Now she owes me 4 meals out!

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Wonderful game. Unfortunate injury so the poor Italians were left with 10 men, but still a great game.

  53. Pete Griffiths

    Life long football fan.I have to favor Spain for the final. They have a disturbingly low scoring rate but their all field game is truly remarkable. They have taken football to a level that has never been seen before. The only precedent for the precision passing possession football has been some Brazil teams, but they could only do it for periods in a game. Spain plays the whole game at that level – incredible.

  54. John Ruffolo

    Fred, I am rabid football fan. I live and die with the Azzurri and they have given me my share of heart-attacks over the years. I predicted yesterday’s score. My prediction for Sunday will be Italy 1:0 over Spain. Forza Italia!

  55. Rob K

    Anyone but Spain.My friend and fellow footballer Alex Ooms described watching Spain play to watching a computer play chess- technically perfect but not entertaining.Personally, I think it’s more like watching the Harlem Globetrotters pass it around but forget to put it in the hoop. It is maddening that a team as skilled as Spain scores so little.As a German it kills me to root for Italy, (awaiting lightening strike now), but I must.

  56. Robert Bareuther

    My 14 year old and I fell in love with the sport during last World Cup, when we were still living in NYC. Amazing bonding experience. Depending on game we would go to different restaurants around Soho where country’s cuisine was represented. We moved to Seattle last fall so now we’ve been watching from different spots out here, roaming around, always around lunchtime. Such a fun sport and love the fact that they don’t have timeouts or commercials. Going to be a fun Sunday.

  57. paramendra

    Finally the Wilsons and I are talking. Soccer all the way!

  58. cdelrosso

    good choice Fred, greetings from an Italian reader

  59. Otto

    I love the way Spain has played in the recent past but they’re boring at the moment. As mentioned by a fellow on Twitter, “They’re like a band three albums in. They forgot why we loved them in the first place.”Azzurri 1-0. Di Natale scores the winner after being sent on for Balotelli. RCTID.

  60. Tony

    Italy for me. Not for Balotelli, but for Andrea Pirlo, aka “the architect”. Outstanding player. Smart, sharp, so consistent. That being said, I really like Spain too. But Italy seems more determined in this tournament, they really want to win and play well as a team.

  61. Luca Morandini

    As an Italian I will root for Italy for sure. It’s a kind of a tricky match but I hope that Fernando Torres is going to play: he misses so many scoring chance that is better for us to have him on the pitch πŸ™‚

  62. Mario Bucolo

    Hope Italy will win on sunday night…in any case you will receive a taste of Italy (Sicily) before july 4 πŸ˜‰ you will understand at right time πŸ˜‰

  63. Danny Haber

    Wrote an article on the Social Video wars: would like to see what the avc community thinks: http://legendarymoves.com/?…

  64. Mesh Lakhani

    Must be a great environment to watch! Go Italy!

  65. JamesHRH

    Balotelli seems to have gotten it – the point (in major tourneys) is not to score goals in a memorable way, but to score memorable goals.He was surgical on both finishes against Germany and I expect him to play a role in Italy’s win.I don’t have a horse in the race (I go Germany), fwiw.

  66. Pramod Dikshith

    I will go in for Italy too πŸ™‚ even thou I am long time Brazil fan

  67. John Revay

    “we scouted out the best sports bars” I am not sure if your sons age, assume 16 yrs old +/-Parenting question – While in Europe sitting in a bar will you or the GothamGal let your son try a beer?I traveled to Italy and Greece while in HS (school trips) – our teachers/chaperons took us out to clubs – Dance & Drink – it was fun. – that was 35 years ago – probably would not fly today.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes absolutely. We treat him like an adult and not one establishment in Europe including all the sports bars have had any issues with him or what he drinks. We believe kids should learn to drink responsibly with their family

  68. Itav Topaz

    Buzzlotalli.Analyzing the social activities on Vubooo (the virtual stadium for football fans) which hosted more than 150,000 fans during the EURO 2012 TM,Β the majority believe that SPAIN will be the EURO 2012 champion. Though, the man of the match is expected to be Balotelli (yes that’s right, not Pirlo and even not Iniesta) that swept the fans away with his fantastic goals in the previous match and created a huge buzz in the virtual stadium with thousands of.Vuboooz per goal.

  69. Itav Topaz

    La Roja vs. Azzurri, all time statistics: Italy – 10 Wins | Spain – 8 Wins | 11 DrawsIt’s hard to predict which team is about to win the trophy but there’s one thing that can’t be argued, this Euro 2012 tournament was one of the most exciting European championships in recent history!Can someone argue with that?!

  70. bsoist

    I’m sure you and your sun had fun watching in Europe. Billy was in Germany for this and for the World Cup two years ago. He tells me it’s mayhem during games.We were pulling for Germany, but now it’s Italia all the way.

  71. Abhishek

    We all are missing Andrea Pirlo here. Pirlo has moved one step closer to the legendary status after that penalty kick against England. If he nets a goal or two in final same as Zidane did in World Cup 98 for France, he will become one.

  72. Wesley Verhoeve

    From a Northern European point of view, and mostly an art of soccer point of view, one should never root for either Italy or Portugal.Both are historically teams that play dirty and negative soccer. Italy invented the style of Catenaccio***, which is an extremely negative and defensive system, and considered sneaky and dirty. They’re very good at it, but they have much too much talent in their team to play like this. They should play like Spain, which is beautiful, team oriented, honest and graceful soccer with a lot of creativity. This year they have a chip on their shoulder because of all the corruption dramas in Italian soccer, so they’re playing a little more positive than usually. Very determined team.Portugal is typically an underperforming country that plays not so much defensive (though they’re good at it) as they play dirty. Mean players, doing dirty things out of sight, and rough play. This year it’s been less so, but historically speaking they’re probably the meanest country in soccer history aside from the 1950’s Uruguay and the 1970’s Argentina teams. Of course, the current team star Ronaldy is perhaps the most deplorable, yet extremely talented, player of the decade. Hard to root for any team that has him in it.Tomorrow I am Spain all the way, but I predict an Italy win of 1-0.*** http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

  73. livesports

    Watch Italy vs Spain Live Euro Cup Final Match Streaming N Bet On Your Pc 1/07/2012http://watchdailysports.blo…

  74. livesports

    Watch Italy vs Spain Live Euro Cup Final Match Streaming N Bet On Your Pc 1/07/2012http://watchdailysports.blo…Watch Italy vs Spain Live Euro Cup Final Match Streaming N Bet On Your Pc 1/07/2012http://watchdailysports.blo…

  75. Chema Larrea

    Bad choice finally Spain won. A spaniard XD

  76. Ben Apple

    I enjoy a good underdog victory as well but Spain put on a show this year!

  77. Jose

    So Spain won and made it into history! Best team ever!

  78. Frankie

    Sport people has nothing to do with regular people. There is no correlation, and science people should be aware of that. One example is not enough to support a whole theory.I’m spanish. I’m not proud of ballouts, I’m not proud of our Governement, and even less produd of the former one. I’m not proud of public funding for soccer teams, or football players’ wages.But I’m proud of our national team, proud of Gassol brothers, Rafael Nadal and many others. And, above all, I’m proud of spanish regular people that work hard and try to keep our country going. For these, sports are just a little happy break in their lives, as for so many people around the world.One more thing: I see comments complaining about “insufferable” spaniards, just because we are having a run of good luck, but it was Ballotelli who said that he would score 4 goals at Spain. Envy hurts πŸ˜‰

  79. matthughes

    Portugal’s loss was tragic.I have close friends and business ties in Portgual – my heart broke for them.