Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Zindane, Materazzi and furbo


A big win for the Italians, and they deserved it.

Part of their ploy was what the Italians call furbo. It means being foxy, savvy, smart, wily. It's a compliment.

It's common in sports and well known that if you can "get" the opponent you can beat them. One way to do this is to grunt on the tennis serve - I watched this destroy a teen-aged opponent. You can also lob to the baseline and let the other person make the mistake...chat with the batter ... lots of ways.

In this article from bbc, How rife is taunting in football? By Richard Hookham we see how it Marco Materazzi's furbo (deliberate incitement) worked on Zinedine Zidane, who succumbed to what the Brits call "sledging."

"In Italy, winding up an opponent is part and parcel of the game and a basic way of trying to get one up on your opposite number," says Mark Hateley , former AC Milan striker. He says it's considered a "fundamental and legitimate way of gaining an advantage."

Same deal in the workplace, folks ... at the negotiating table, in a meeting ... on a date ...

The defense particularly [tries to] get a reaction from you," says Hately. "It's always been like that and it always will be."

He says another example might be throwing balls around and having one "accidentally" hit an opponent. It's par for the course on the "football" field -- worldwide -- because it works.


  • If someone has a temperament problem you use it against them
  • Get the player to lose focus and concentration
  • "Every team in England has its wind-up merchants."
  • The Italian team are masters of just soaking up pressure. They just sit there.
  • Hately says: "That, coupled with the verbal taunts and the little kicks and tugs can be a recipe for disaster if the opposition have players who overreact. "

Hately reiterated it's part of the game, and Italy deserved the win.


How do you fare against the "wind-up merchants"? Are you known to be "overreactve" and people use it against you? This is considered part of the game, part of winning, whatever "game" you're in.

And ladies, this is second-nature to men. It comes up a lot dating. You will be tested. (Why, I don't know, except it's a guy thing.) If he can get your goat, he won't respect you and will move on, but not before calling you short, having cut off your legs (i.e., "You're too emotional") and not before sleeping with you, of course.

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