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UEFA Under Fire for Manipulating Mario Balotelli's Moment for Live TV

WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 28:  Mario Balotelli of Italy celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2012 semi final match between Germany and Italy at the National Stadium on June 28, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.  (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Joern Pollex/Getty Images
Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJuly 24, 2016

Here is one I hope we don't see everyday. 

Barry Petchesky of Deadspin has the latest on a poignant moment we all thought was too good to be true. 

And it seems it was as UEFA allegedly placed footage at certain parts of the live feed to make for better TV. 

Many soccer fans around the world were taken aback by a German fan shedding a single tear after Italian super striker Mario Balotelli headed home the game's second goal in the 36th minute of the Euro 2012 semifinal. 

It was almost too perfect. 

On one hand, you had Super Mario standing statuesque after he put the Azzurri up two in the first half. On the other, you had the camera crew finding the one German fan who overreacted by crying way too early than is warranted. 

Even ESPN's Adrian Healey remarked, via Deadspin

It's too early for tears.

It would have been more precise to say it was too late for tears. You see, the fan's name is Andrea, and she was just as shocked as the millions watching to hear she had been crying at Balotelli's goal. 

Petchesky breaks down and translates what was found from the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung

Her name was Andrea, she came from Dusseldorf, and she was surprised when she started getting texts from friends asking why she'd started crying with nearly an hour of play remaining. She hadn't, Andrea told them. 

Instead, she said, she had been overcome with emotion during the playing of the national anthems, before the match kicked off. A camera recorded her then, and the footage was inserted into live TV later on, at the moment it would have the most impact. The emotional power of sport, on cue.

If we weren't already cynical enough about television and what we are usually spoon fed. 

Deadspin does well to report networks were caught unaware, and were merely utilizing the live feed offered to them by UEFA, and many were upset. 

"We have complained to UEFA that the impression was aroused that these were live pictures,'' ZDF editor-in-chief Peter Frey said. "That does not correspond to our journalistic standards.''

Petchesky goes on to note we are regularly bamboozled in local news broadcasts when footage of anchors shaking their heads in agreement are often used instead of the real deal. 

Fine, but I don't see how that makes any of this fine and dandy. 

The great thing about sports is we sit back and believe the usual ploys of reality TV are far from the pitch, field or court. 

I always considered sports to be the best in reality television precisely because it's not scripted and not messaged in any way. 

Sure, the discussion before and after the game can be ridiculous, but the images of the crowd and the tenor of the moment were all untouched, or so we thought. 

Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and now this. What's a sports fan to believe in anymore?

Follow me on Twitter but not too close. 

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