KRAKOW, Poland (AFP)
Italy's return to the top ranks by reaching the final of Euro
2012 has added a few more words to the world's considerable
Italy's tournament started under a cloud, with betting
(scommesse) scandal in football (calcio) once more sullying the
Defender Domenico Criscito even had to give up his place just
before the team's departure for Poland after his room at the
team's training camp was searched.
But after the "Totonero" (Black market lottery) in 1980 and the
match-fixing "Calciopoli" (Football Monopoly) in 2006, Italy won
the World Cup. A good sign?
Literally, "biscuit" or "cookie". Derived from horse-racing where
the phrase "to give a biscuit" meant "to dope a horse", the term
became synomous in football with two sides "having an
Italy still has bad memories of a 2-2 draw between Sweden and
Denmark in Euro 2004, which saw both Scandinian sides go through
from the group stage at their expense.
Italy was afraid that a 2-2 draw between Spain and Croatia in the
group stage this time round would have had the same result. But
the Spanish won 1-0 with a last-minute goal.
"Rhombus" or "lozenge". In football, a four-man midfield with one
man hanging back.
Since the quarter finals, this has consisted of playmaker Andrea
Pirlo, with Claudio Marchisio wide out right and Daniele De Rossi
out left, with either Thiago Motta or Riccardo Montolivo further
In England the "rombo" is called the diamond formation, which
aptly sums up coach Cesare Prandelli's midfield gems.
Currently a word out of favour given Prandelli's success in
revolutionising Italy's game based on possession of the ball and
But when Italy are ahead, as they were against Germany in the
semi-final, the players know how to bolt the door (catenaccio) of
its defence to get the win.
Italian name for the "Peter Pan" character "Tinker Bell",
immortalised by Pirlo, whose nickname refers to the magic
produced when the ball is at his feet and his flowing hair in the
"The Blues." Nickname of the national side. Also called the
"Nazionale" but never the "squadra azzurra" or "the blue team".
"Half a point." Refers to the supporting role in attack. A role
currently occupied by Montolivo. More commonly used than "false
nine" or "nine-and-a-half".
"The spoon." Italians don't call a chipped penalty a "Panenka",
after Antonin Panenka, who scored the cheeky spot kick in the
1976 European Championship final to secure a win for
Czechoslovakia against West Germany.
Instead, Italians call it "the spoon". In the quarter-final,
Pirlo was only too happy to give England goalkeeper Joe Hart a
taste of the spoon. After all, he had put out his tongue.
"Depth." Or Prandelli's mantra, which he's been shouting at Mario
Balotelli for the last two years.
But against Germany, "Super Mario" listened well and the lesson
paid off. Launched into the "profondita" by Montolivo, he kept
one step ahead of Philipp Lahm to score a magnificent second