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Heartache as Italians disqualified from World Cup

A distraught and babbling Italian soccer team returned home from South Korea yesterday after their shock disqualification for losing a match. Team captain Paolo Maldini admitted the team was sickened by the decision taken by referee Byron Moreno in the 26th minute of extra time. "It's like they [FIFA] had already decided that the next match we lost, we would be out. It is a shameful conspiracy. In Italy, people are calling it robbery."


Italy's crushing groinular blow came in five parts, each one a disallowed goal. Just what went wrong for these decent, good-looking men in too-tight tops? The Evil Gerald takes a look back at five controversial decisions and asks the official concerned: Wassa matter you, eh?

Goal Number One: Too Sexy
Francesco Totti infuriated this official with his flagrant goal. He was sent off for being too sexy for the second time in the match - a clear breach of FIFA regulations. The ref is unrepentant. "If you look at the Italian collars, they are all a little bit higher than everyone else's."
Goal Number Two: Wasn't really that Good
It's a good goal, not a great goal from hero Paolo Maldini. Referee Graham Poll explains. "When I said 'offside', I really meant 'mediocre' and 'unworthy of this great sporting nation'. I hope that's cleared it up."
Goal Number Three: He Tricked the Defender!
This was a clear-cut decision according to the referee. "You can see Vieri approaching down the right flank, and it's always looking like he's going to cross to Totti. But he doesn't! It's as if he has 'feigned' going across and then just run around the defender.
What a bastard. No goal."
Goal Number Four: Goalie got a hand to it
"People accuse me of being heartless, but I would have loved to have been able to award this goal. But I couldn't. You see, the goalie got a hand to it there, and that means it's a goal for the other team. Shame, really."
Goal Number Five: Studs Showing
FIFA has been very clear about this rule in recent years, and this tournament has seen a marked decrease in the number of studs on show. But eagle-eyed referee Carlos Simon spotted that this goal had been slotted in with all studs blazing, only missing collision with the keeper by inches. Will they ever learn?




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