Italy win the World Cup 5-3 on penalties

That’s the subhed from the BBC’s report of the World Cup title match.

Which makes this passage from Jeffrey Toobin’s article on the World Cup in last week’s (3 July) New Yorker in which he discusses the US’s second-round match against Italy very prescient:

These days, Italians play a style known as catenaccio–door bolt–which focuses more on preventing goals than on scoring them. This defensive approach frequently leads to unattractive behavior, such as de Rossi’s assault on McBride, and, as a consequence, Italian players are also famous for making operatic complaints to referees, who are especially important in their games. Italian teams often rely for goals on free kicks and penalties, which only referees can award.

Toobin goes on to mention that this has led to a number of scandals.