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FIFA World Cup 2010: Italian Creative Expression During the Action

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 14:  Daniele De Rossi of Italy celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group F match between Italy and Paraguay at Green Point Stadium on June 14, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Mike RaffoneCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2010
For centuries, Italian creative expression has resonated throughout the world.

In Art, the brilliance of Italian masters Michaelangelo and Bernini has enraptured art lovers around the globe.

In Music, the virtuoso talents Andreas Botticelli and Enrico Caruso have serenaded millions of opera officianados.

In Fashion, the avant-garde designs of Gianni Versace and Salvadore Ferragamo have been exported to deep pocketed fashionistas from Berlin to Beijing to Buenos Aires.

In Architecture, the iconic landmarks of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and the Duomo in Florence have drawn countless pilgrims from every culture.

And now in Sports, Italy's fabulous flopping footballers have mastered their imaginative machinations once again as the unrivaled diving divas of the soccer pitch.

Taking their melodramatic histrionics to unprecedented levels, Italian soccer stars have perfected their plunging panache and easily passed other wanna-be tumbling sports talents like Derek Fisher of the Lakers - and for that matter, every WWE wrestler - as they've mastered the art of unnecessary flailing and flopping.

Take the scene at yesterday's rain soaked 1-1 World Cup match between the defending World Cup Champion Azzurri versus upstart and emotionally driven Paraguay.

In the game's early minutes Italian Midfielder Daniele De Rossi sprinted toward the goal, eagerly anticipating a pass from a teammate. Next, ESPN cameras captured De Rossi on the rain soaked field grabbing his calf as if suddenly shot by a stinger missile. De Rossi's apparent writhing in agony prompted panicked paramedics to race on to the pitch to administer emergency aid to the Azzurri's injured Italian Midfielder.

At the same time, De Rossi's succouring soccer teammates hovered around him, screamed wildly at the ref, then directed Neopolitan curses at their Paraguayan opponents, all while reciting rosaries in a last rites gesture for their teammate who was precariously fighting death's door.

Suddenly . . . and you know what happened next . . . as if the Italian Midfielder's soap opera nonsense wasn't enough, the nearly slain De Rossi miraculously rose from the grave, er, the turf that is, sprinted around the pitch like he was running the Boston Marathon, then eagerly rejoined his teammates as the ref instructed both sides to resume play. What a show!

Despite having held up the game for several minutes, De Rossi's antics didn't even get a yellow card. I say for this exaggerated Italian expression, the refs should have awarded him an Oscar instead. Play on.

MIKE - thee American made voice on sports!

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