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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Euro 2012: Italy v. Serbia from Genoa: Match Suspended After Six Minutes


On 29 Oct. 2010, the UEFA Disciplinary Committee awarded Italy a 3 x 0 victory. Serbia will play their next home qualifier behind closed doors. They will face a fine of 120,000 € and further sanctions if there are any problems at future games. Italy will be fined 100,000 € and play one game behind closed doors if similar events happen in the next two years.

Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 29 Oct. 2010.

The Azzurri were set to face a Serbia side desperate for a result at the Luigi Ferraris, or Marassi, tonight in Genoa. Mr. Prandelli had made a few changes to his starting XI due to the injury of Daniele De Rossi, and his lineup will have a definite Genoan influence.

Prandelli on Cassano and Pazzini

"Hanno una grande intesa, sì. Mi auguro di vedere tante palle giuste di Antonio per Pazzini, come Giampaolo ha detto di aspettarsi sempre, quando giocano insieme".
"They have a great intensity for sure. I hope to see many great balls by Antonio for Pazzini. Just as Giampaolo has always said he anticipates when they play together (at Sampdoria.)"
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 12 Oct. 2010.

Italy Starting XI: 4-4-2

Zambrotta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Criscito
Marchisio, Pirlo (capt.), Palombo, Mauri
Pazzini, Cassano.

Serbia Starting XI: 4-4-2

Ivanovic, Lukovic, Subotic, Rajkovic
Stankovic (capt.), Kuzmanovic, Krasic, Kacar
Tosic, Mrdja

Manager: Mr. Petrovic.

Match Official: Mr. Craig Thomson from Scotland.

*** UPDATE ***

The match was suspended by Mr. Thomson due to safety concerns for the players.

Projectiles were hurled from the stands directly before the match was due to kick-off. Both teams were sent back to the dressing rooms. Dejan Stankovic, the Serbian captain, visibly gestured to his fans to calm down. It was a great show of leadership in an extremely volatile situation.

The match began 40 minutes late proceeded by a minute of silence for four Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week.

After six minutes, lighted projectiles were thrown near the Italian keeper, Emiliano Viviano. Mr. Thomson immediately sent the players off. After conferring with many people, he and a UEFA delegate called the game off.

According to RAI Sport TV, Serbian "ultras" initiated the events.

"We tried to calm them down. Not applaud them."

My translation of Dejan Stankovic's comments made before the kick-off to RAI.

Two Heroes

It is a sad day for sport when "fans," if these hooligans even merit such a term, hijack the event. But we can be heartened by the courage and example of Dejan Stankovic. The Inter Milan man showed us that not everyone can wear the captain's armband when it really matters. He and Mr. Craig Thomson were the only stars on a dismal night. Match officials often receive criticism and abuse. Mr. Thomson used impeccable judgment to avert a catastrophe.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Vladimir Stojkovic, the Serbian keeper, was attacked by fans near the team bus before the game. Apparently because he transferred from Red Star Belgrade to Partizan for Champions League football.

Prandelli Afterwards: "I've never seen anything like this."

"C’è grande delusione, amarezza, c’erano tanti bambini che volevano vedere uno spettacolo, e non hanno potuto farlo. Mai vissuta un’esperienza così. I giocatori sono stati aggrediti dai tifosi sul pullman. Il portiere era nel nostro spogliatoio, tremava, aveva paura non solo anche per stasera, anche in vista del ritorno in patria. Gli ultrà sembravano organizzati, sembrava che avrebbero fatto di tutto per non far giocare la partita. Secondo i giocatori serbi questo era il loro obiettivo".
"There is great delusion and bitterness. There were so many children who wanted to see a great game, and they couldn't do it. I've never seen anything like this...

The players were attacked by fans near the bus. Their keeper was in our dressing room. He was shaking. He was afraid not only for tonight, but also in anticipation of his return home. The ultras appeared to be organized. It seemed as if they did everything so that the game wouldn't be played. According to the Serbian players, this was their objective."
Cesare Prandelli knows first hand about stadium tragedies. He was a Juventus player the tragic night in 1985 at Heysel Stadium in Belgium.

Political Overtones

Il presidente della federazione serba Tomislav Karadzic ha infatti dichiarato: "È un attacco allo Stato e lo Stato deve risolvere questo problema. Questo non è solo un attacco al calcio serbo, ma alla Serbia nella sua interezza, e al calcio mondiale. E’ una vergogna, ma noi a Genova da due giorni sentivamo la pressione dei tifosi intorno all’albergo, e ieri la polizia serba e la Federcalcio del nostro Paese avevano informato le forze dell’ordine italiane che c’era pericolo, che fazioni violente di tifosi erano in Italia per fermare questa partita".

The president of the Serbian Football Federation, Tomislav Karadzic, declared:
"It was an attack against the State, and the State must resolve this problem. This is not only an attack against Serbian football, but against Serbia and its interests, and against world football. It is a disgrace, but we in Genoa for the last two days felt the pressure from our supporters inside the hotel.

Yesterday, the Serbian police and the Italian Federation informed the Italian authorities that there was a danger. That violent fan factions were in Italy to stop this game."
Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 12 Oct. 2010.

Fixtures for Group C
  • Friday, 8 October: Northern Ireland 0 x Italy 0 from Windsor Park in Belfast.
  • Friday, 8 October: Slovenia 5 x Faroe Islands 1 from Ljubljana.
  • Friday, 8 October: Serbia 1 x Estonia 3 from Belgrade.
  • Tuesday, 12 October: Faroe Islands 1 x Northern Ireland 1 from Toftir.
  • Tuesday, 12 October: Estonia 0 x Slovenia 1 from Tallinn.
  • Tuesday, 12 October: Italy x Serbia from the Luigi Ferraris in Genoa (Match suspended after six minutes.)
UEFA Euro 2012 Table and Results

Group C Table

Italy: 10 points after 4 games.

Slovenia: 7 points after 4 games.
Estonia: 6 points after 4 games.
Northern Ireland: 5 points after 3 games.
Serbia: 4 points after 4 games.
Faroe Islands: 1 point after 5 games.

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