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Dirty Tackle

UEFA does scoreboard test with Spain-Croatia conspiracy result Italy fear

Dirty Tackle

This isn't helping. (Carles Fité, ABC Punto Radio)

For days Italy have been simultaneously building up and playing down theories that Group C leaders Spain and Croatia would conspire to produce a 2-2 draw (an act known as a "biscotto") in order to keep the Italians from advancing. Paranoia levels -- already heightened by the fact that a suspicious 2-2 draw between Sweden and Denmark kept Italy from advancing at Euro 2004 -- were not helped by UEFA choice in scoreboard test information at the Stadion Miejski hours before the match.

Yes, someone at UEFA thought it would be cute to use the very result Italy fears has been pre-arranged for a test signal that was only accessible by journalists inside the stadium. According to the test, Fernando Torres scored his third goal of the tournament before getting sent off early in the second half while Mario Mandzukic, Nikica Jelavic and Andres Iniesta score the other three convenient goals.

Obviously this was far more likely to be an inside joke more than an actual hint of what's been planned to come, but the Italians probably won't see the humor in it.

UPDATE: Alas, the conspiracy fears were proven unfounded as it took Spain 88 minutes to manage just one goal against Croatia. Spain and Italy now advance to the quarterfinals, finishing first and second in Group C, respectively.

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