April 12, 2005

You gotta love soccer hooligans



Is this some odd soccer tradition that I didn't know about? Bring flares to a game? For those who haven't seen the amazing video on ESPN and elsewhere, the Champions League quarterfinals between AC Milan and Inter Milan was upset after more than 30 flares were tossed onto the field. The first flare hit and injured a player. The game was halted for 25 minutes before being suspended.

What's really incredible is that this is the second time this season that there has been a flare-related incident at an Italian soccer stadium. In September a game between AS Roma and Dynamo Kiev (gotta love European club names) was halted by hooligans throwing flares. To makes matters worse, later on in this tournament, Liverpool and Juventus will face each other for the first time since a riot left 39 people dead in 1985.

My only possible reaction is: What the hell is wrong with these people?

Posted by Frinklin at April 12, 2005 08:52 PM

Throwing flares before a game is a tradition in Italy. However, throwing them out during a game is almost unheard of. I have no idea what these "fans" were thinking - they had to know it would result in the game being cancelled and the club being banned from European competition.

Posted by: Richard at April 12, 2005 10:27 PM

To makes matters worse, later on in this tournament, Liverpool and Juventus will face each other for the first time since a riot left 39 people dead in 1985.

That would be tonight (7:45 London time, 11:45am LA time). No deaths or serious injuries in the stands would be considered a victory for the authorities.

There is nothing like it in the US.

Posted by: John at April 13, 2005 03:15 AM

Most of the soccer violence in Italy is actually more political than sports-related. For example, last night's game between Inter and AC Milan. Traditionally, the right wing supports Inter and the left wing supports AC. This is odd given that until last year Silvio Berlusconi owned AC Milan, but that tradition goes back way before his time.

Posted by: John at April 13, 2005 03:18 AM

Here's a prime example of John's point.

Posted by: Richard at April 13, 2005 09:37 AM

Thanks Guys... European soccer is something I can't even pretend to understand, though I've kinda always wanted too.

Posted by: frinklin at April 13, 2005 06:20 PM

The Juventus vs Liverpool game was uneventful (both in the stands and pretty much on the field). That's good news.

There were so many questionable calls that went Liverpool's way, that I couldn't shake the feeling that the referees wanted Juventus out. Also, Juventus played with so little energy that I thought that they were taking a dive. Weird game, but Liverpool played hard and desrved their "victory" (they won on total goals over 2 games). It's just a shame that Liverpool's not that good and now they're in the semi-finals.

Posted by: John at April 14, 2005 03:04 AM

The North American press will probably have a hard time saying "Italian" rather than "English soccer hooligans" around the next world cup. Reporting on the antics of English "fans" was about all the coverage you got of the world cup in US media, further demonstrating to this Canadian of mixed Euro heritage the sad truth that most Americans just don't get it. As in many things, in this case not much lamented, England has lost its former leadership in the demented world of soccer crowd violence. As the pundits will tell you its all about testosterone, tribalism and social and economic malais. By the way, Liverpool beat Juve because they came out and played football for the first half at Anfield, that is they attacked the other teams goal and tried to put the ball in the net rather than sitting back and waiting for the other team to make a mistake, Italian style. Ironic that the reds won the second leg by beating an Italian team at their own game.

Posted by: John at April 15, 2005 11:24 PM
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