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Pursuant to our recent discussions of Euro 2004 Action.

Scandinavians cry foul at Euro 2004 match-fixing

Suspicions aroused by Italian performance

by Juan Sebastian Gaucho

Representatives for the Danish and Swedish football associations are understood to have lodged formal protests with UEFA following last week's controversial Euro 2004 match between Italy and Bulgaria.

Needing only a draw to remain undefeated throughout the tournament and send viewers to sleep in the usual manner before boarding a plane back to Italy, the Azzurri instead spent large periods of the game playing something verging on attacking football — on occasions even making several shots on the Bulgarian goal within the space of a few minutes. Onlookers were bemused by the completely out-of-character adventurousness of the Italians and suspicions were raised that corruption was involved when a late "winner" made the score 2-1 to Italy.

"There is no way that what happened was not pre-arranged", stormed Anders Andersson from Sweden some after the game finished, as he held a well-thumbed copy of Great Nil-Nil Draws In Serie A in his frosty Nordic hands. "It makes a mockery of the whole event."

The official Swedish technical official — Sven Svensson — had warned before the game that there had "been rumours" that the Italians might go for a win due to being funded by betting syndicates. Asked post-match he added: "Why would they play like that unless it had been decided beforehand? Is that what we pay money to see Italy do?"

An aggrieved player from the Denmark v Sweden game angrily explained: "We all took part in an exciting 2-2 draw in our match and after trying our best to win the whole game, come off and find that a stitch-up has allowed Cannavaro and Co. to score two goals when they should be defending for 90 minutes. It makes me sick."

Danish soccer statistician Knud Knudsen pointed out that in over 800 games the Italian national team is never known to have attacked in such a manner as they appeared to have done against Bulgaria. "To win by scoring one goal is suspicious," he spouted, "but to do so by two goals makes it clear beyond all reasonable doubt that there was something fishy going on."

However UEFA have decided not to invalidate the result. This is "partly because the tournament has moved on and players are no longer in the country" explained a smooth-tongued organiser, "but mainly because it's so bloody funny that del Piero and Vieiri are out on their fat overpaid arses", he added while pumping the air with his fist and shouting "Vaffanculo Trappatoni".

An Italian spokesman from its federation HQ in Palermo was keen to rubbish the accusations, telling The Rockall Times that they were "incredible", "outrageous", and "unmerited" though admitting that they were also true.

When pressed as to why the matter was still so contentious, even though Sweden, Denmark and Italy had all now exited the tournament, an irate blonde man swigging from a bottle of herring-flavoured vodka told us: "If the English can sit around making excuses as to why they are no longer competing in Euro 2004, then the least they can do is allow us the same privilege. Mind you, disallowing that Sol Campbell goal was outrageous. Swiss tosser. It makes my blood boil…"

(Source: http://www.therockalltimes.co.uk/2004/06/28/match-fixing.html)

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