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For Italians, Soccer is Life

Posted December. 26, 2005 03:12,   


From everyday citizens to politicians, corporate heads, and Mafiosos, every single person in Italy has some ties to football.

In the land of Calcio, known as the land of football, there exist 16,000 pro and amateur soccer clubs. Serie A is Italy’s highest regarded professional football league, and has been in existence since 1929. A total of 20 clubs compete in the league.

A club that belongs to Serie A plays 38 games each season, home and away. When clubs have the same number of victory points, they share the same place in the rankings, regardless of goals earned or given away. The top four teams are awarded with entry to Europe’s Champions League, and teams in fifth and sixth place qualify for the UEFA cup tournament.

The lowest three teams get demoted to the Serie B League, and the two top teams of Serie B get promoted to Serie A. If the teams in third and fourth place in Serie B have a point differential less than nine, the remaining Serie A slot goes to the team that wins a playoff between teams ranked third through sixth.

Juventus On Top-

Historically, Juventus has the best record in the league with 28 wins. In the 2004-2005 season, led by its manager Favio Capello, Juventus defeated AC Milan. Juventus currently leads the season, with 15 wins out of 17.

Juventus` league victory looks like a done deal. But general manager Luciano Moggi was cautious when he said in a radio interview, “AC Milan and Inter Milan both have many championship victories under their belts: they won’t let us have it easy.”

Fiorentina Rising-

Fiorentina has been challenging the league’s traditional powerhouses of Juventus, Inter Milan, and AC Milan this season. Thanks to Luca Toni’s good runs, Fiorentina has emerged from obscurity and is now in fourth place. The team was on the brink of demotion last year after finishing in 17th place.

Toni is a candidate for Europe’s Golden Shoe award (the award given to the highest scorer among all European leagues). He was picked to play for the Italian national team in the 2006 World Cup, and he and Alberto Gilardino (AC Milan) will be Italy’s main attack force.

Toni has not scored a goal in his last three games; he has scored 16 goals so far. Despite the “curse of 17,” he still is in the lead.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com