ITALY could be forgiven for feeling the world is against them – well, the world football governing body, at least.
Marcelo Lippi’s defending champions are still smarting after former French midfielder Patrick Vieira – a losing finalist in 2006 - got to present the trophy to South African organisers before the big kick-off.
And when putting their electronic voting pads to the test at a Fifa Congress meeting in Sandton, delegates were asked whether Italy were reigning world champions – and for some reason seven blazers voted no.
The Italians have been suffering further indignity at the hands – or motormouth – of former Inter Milan midfielder Paul Ince.
The self-styled “Guvnor” is on punditry duty on South African TV, alongside other ex-Manchester United players Dwight Yorke and Paul Ince.
The role has meant conforming to his station’s formal dress policy – pristine white shirt and matching crimson silk cravats.
Yet Ince felt relaxed enough in studio discussions to constantly call Lippi’s side ‘the Eyeties’.
Maybe not quite Ron Atkinson or Carol Thatcher territory – though it perhaps wouldn’t be stood for by, say, Adrian Chiles.