Chiellini, Saka and the English petition: too much mess for a tactical foul

by | Jul 14, 2021 10:48

Giorgio Chiellini’s foul on Bukayo Saka has caused controversy and some English fans even started a petition to replay the Final, but it’s all part of the game and the Italy captain already paid a fair price for it, writes Stephen Kasiewicz.

Rescind the result. Stop the celebrations and hand back the trophy.  Italy cheated and the European Championship final must be replayed. Football needs to come home.  For one England supporter, if we can call them that, the Azzurri’s victory was all too much.

Clearly, the red mist descended in blinding waves when a petition was established demanding the match be played again on the grounds of bias and unsavoury, illegal tactics deployed by Italy. Featuring a screenshot of Giorgio Chiellini’s rather industrial professional foul on England winger Bukayo Saka, the petitioner stated that the match was “not fair at all,” and Italy received a “yellow card for dragging England players like they were slaves.” Continuing the theme of outrageous accusations and unfathomable pettiness, it also complained that a rematch should be scheduled with an impartial referee. Talk about sore losers.

Chiellini confirms he ‘cursed’ Saka during penalty

Chiellini was wrong to haul Saka back by the collar and rightly received a yellow card from Dutch whistler Bjorn Kuipers. As regulation time expired and the Arsenal winger burst beyond Chiellini it was clear to everyone watching it was a cynical foul, but it occurred near the halfway line. Had it been a clear goalscoring opportunity, then the veteran Juventus defender could easily have been dismissed. It wasn’t pretty, but Chiellini committed a foul and paid the price for it.

Should Denmark protest for the semi-final to be played again after Raheem Sterling dived to win a decisive penalty for England? Or maybe Italy can launch a retrospective appeal for a spot-kick after Chiellini was dragged to the ground by England defender John Stones before Leonardo Bonucci equalised. If we embark upon a never-ending path of claim and counterclaim, then it will only cause confusion and ultimately chaos.

Mourinho: ‘What Chiellini did on Saka shows everything’

Football can often be cruel, unjust and heartbreaking, but the brutal truth is that Italy were the better team in the Final and the best team in the tournament. The Azzurri had a considerably tougher route to the final than England and progressed with style, resolve and the willingness to do anything it took to win. Chiellini was instrumental in that and should be forgiven for a single moment of cynicism.

Clearly, more than 120,000 people who added their names to the petition disagree. There remains a small but vocal minority of the England support that continue to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Unable to act like decent law-abiding citizens regardless of whether their nation wins or loses, they boo the national anthems of other countries before games, abuse their own players on social media and cause mayhem inside and outside stadiums. Italy fans are not perfect, but we have to respect the final result. Acceptance should slowly prevail and the petition quietly be forgotten.




  1. Shedzy

    I don’t really understand the fuss, myself.
    I’m an Arsenal fan, i’ve been a season ticket holder for 15 years, and a supporter for 40 years – Saka is brilliant, i love him to bits; Chiellini fouled him, and got a yellow card.
    It should never have been more than that, and it should never have been less.
    Gutted though i am, Italy won the game – just about – and whilst i think England should have managed a second goal after their dominant first half, they could have conceded a second during Italys domination in the second.
    England need to regroup, qualify for Qatar, and come back stronger. It hurts to have lost, but there is no need to be idiots about it, Italy won fair and square, fouling is part of the game, and the pull on Saka was rightly given as a free kick/yellow card. Well done Italy. Through gritted, but accepting, teeth 😉

  2. DBMilan

    Boom 😉

    120,000 English fans who don’t understand the rules apparently.

  3. Pino

    England were going to be sore losers regardless of how the match progressed as long as Italy won. We know this because they have historically been sore losers about EVERY KNOCKOUT MATCH ENGLAND HAS EVER LOST.

    Worst fans on the planet.

  4. Mehran Zonouzi

    This is beyond ridiculous!!!!

  5. vince

    this shows the arrogance of the English media, not so much the real English football fans. If an English player done it , it will be considered part of the game and would of got a generous commercial contract. The English forget the VERY soft penalty of Sterling Diving for the Gold medal. With Kane going down like he had been sniper shot. You dont hear the Danes complain as much as the English MEDIA. They are the problem that entice and rouse the fans, they should be made accountable. Basically they won it without kicking a ball, and the arrogance and the disrespect of the other nations, plus don’t get started of the LACK of knowledge of pundits of the other teams other than those playing in the premier league, Trevor Sinclair , Dean Urigela Saunders, Tony Cascarino, Ray Parlour on talk sport so poor. In a nutshell Southgate got his tactics wrong. Even Chellini in an interview said the English bench should reach the final in their own right. Southgate clueless on game management, Should of made changes at half time Rashford or Sancho. But definitely in Extra time. He tried to hold the lead at half time, and pretended the English defence could hold out for second half. Extra time with only Grelish he thought he could nick a goal. the subs at end of game with Rashford and Sancho and put that pressure on players , Southgate should be sacked for that on its own disgrace….

  6. Marino

    Review the game statistics, even the referee was pulling for England .
    Italy five yellow 🎴 🎴🎴🎴🎴. England one🎴.
    Chiesa was ankle studded off the pitch with no card showing.
    It could have been another “Byron Moreno” fiasco for the Azzurri

  7. Geedup

    The English media will always focus on garbage like this because they love sensationalism and controversy. They know anything that makes the English look like they were robbed of their “deserved” glory in football sells like hotcakes because the truth is a large faction (not just a small minority) of English fans think they’re the best in the world and love to see themselves as the victims of sporting and political bias and wrongdoing. Exactly what vince and Pino said, they are always going to be sore losers anytime a result goes against them.

  8. TRUBLu

    Well said Shedzy, except for the “England’s dominant first half”. I’ll give you twenty minutes, but no more than that. As soon as Italy calmed down and imposed themselves on England, England abandoned their strategy and went/were forced into cattenaccio mode.

    Besides the team win, it was clearly Mancini 1 – Southgate 0.

  9. Culichio

    What should really be petitioned was the penalty for Denmark!!!! Gosh, a petition….whats wrong with people. How does England lose anyway…..this whole tournament was in their favour, let alone the fact of having 6/7 games at home. Hilarious

  10. Billy

    As a Rugby Union fan, that comes across as just plain cheating. If you did that in either a League or Union game, that would incur a penalty kick and at least the sin bin. Why is this sort of on pitch behaviour deemed acceptable? Is it any wonder there is a problem with fans, when players deliberately foul each other and then lie to the referee.

  11. Basta poco

    There’s losing and being utterly teed off about it, then there’s being a witless prat. The petition may well be all in jest if you read through it. Better yet, let it get to a 1 million signatures just to further illustrate how insane some of the fanbase are. One Italian wrote he signed it just so that he could watch Italy beat England again. At the very least, I loved hearing José Mourinho’s take on the Chiellini’s five finger discount of Saka’s shirt. Wasn’t pretty to watch at times, but the ref did let the boys play.

  12. Bonucci the boss

    We were bang average over the whole tournament. Our boy dived in order for us to win v Denmark. They were gassed yet we couldn’t create any chances. Every game at home bar one (against a totally spent Ukraine). The final saw a great 20 mins from us, followed by garbage, and Southgate getting everything wrong. I was disappointed that we lost, but not gutted, not devastated, because the truth of the matter is that we weren’t good enough to win, and Italy were far better in the match and the tournament. The whole tournament was set up in our favour, we still couldn’t win and didn’t deserve to win, yet some need to build the narrative that we were robbed – it’s pathetic. Naturally, the media feed us the narrative that this was some heroic losing effort, when it was anything but.

    Most people over here just don’t know football. Lots and lots of people were seeing the Italy squad and saying ‘what happened to Italy?’, ‘I have to google these players’, ‘Italy have fallen such a long way’, etc. I told people how much talent was in the Italy squad – naturally they didn’t listen, and were delusional enough to think our squad is something special.
    Media and pundits… totally embarrassing – they don’t know a thing about football outside of England.

    As a Serie A man I was happy to see Italy win – got a lot of time for those players and they deserved it (Bon and Chi utter legends). I wanted England to win the tournament, but I don’t half have my patience tested at times by the usual circus of delusion which surrounds the English national team. I love England and the UK, but in the context of football, ugh. Gross league, gross culture.

  13. Franco

    Bonucci the boss well said and I could not put it better myself


    Now you understand why Italians in England dreaded this final. Either way they were going to lose. England were always going to find a 1000 excuses. Quicker this nonsense is put to bed the better.

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