What’s worst? The way Italy looked again Russia in preparation friendly heading into the 2012 Euro, losing 3-0? Or the scandal at home which is mostly involved with Serie B matches but has now taken another turn, possibly involving Gianluigi Buffon?
We’ll begin with the troubled national team and the two sides to the story. Yes, they did lose to fellow Euro nation Russia 3-0, which doesn’t bode well for the chances of the Italian squad and Cesare Prandelli, heading into his first tournament with the national team. This is Italy’s final match before they take on Spain in their Euro 2012 opener in group C. Anyone willing to bet on Italy making it out of the group, ahead of Ireland and Croatia?
Well, betting is a bad word to use when talking about Italian football. But before we touch on the touchy subject, we’ll stick with the national team, obviously suffering from what’s happening back home. Still, the Russians started scoring in the second half, only after Prandelli began with his substitutions, making 7 of them. Buffon was on the bench when Kerzhakov opened the scoring for Italy.
But the scoring seems to be a dire problem for the side – They haven’t scored a goal since their 2-0 win over Poland in November, being shutout by Uruguay, the United States and now Russia in the preparation for the Euro. Italy never seem to impress, but it seems the national side might follow the abysmal performance of the 2010 World Cup side, or maybe even worse.
Back Buffon, and his involvement in the match-fixing problem. For now, it looks like betting, nothing more, but that’s serious enough. To have a Juventus player involved in the matter makes it even worse. Trying to look at this from afar, it might suggest that Buffon simply has an expensive gambling habit.
Between January and September of 2010, Buffon wrote out 14 cheques, totaling €1.5 million, written out to Massimo Alfieri, authorized to place bets through the on-line system Lottomatica. Buffon is currently not under investigation by the prosecutor’s office in Cremona, heading the Match-Fixing scandal investigation, but the Turin office has sent a report to Cremona.
Buffon’s lawyer hasn’t offered any details, only mentioning that Alfieri is a friend of Buffon, mentioning some trust company and the purchase of property in Parma, but nothing with any legal documentation. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects Buffon, the captain of the national side, and the team itself, whether the prosecutors pursue this subject right now or wait till the conclusion of the Euro.
The initial thoughts seem to be that Buffon is simply a huge gambler. Juventus did win the title this year, and the club isn’t involved in anything regarding the Match-Fixing investigated by the prosecutors. But there is a bad smell to the whole thing, also thinking about Juventus’ problems during the 2010 season. In Italy, you can never tell.