Bad omen for Italy as their unlucky number comes up
Thursday 15 November 2007
In Italy, 17 is considered an unlucky number. One anagram of the Roman numeral XVII is VIXI, which in Latin translates as "I have lived", with the implication "My life is over" or "I'm dead". Some Alitalia planes have no row 17, some Italian hotels have no room 17. The 17th curve at the Cesana bobsled run at last year's Winter Olympics in Turin was "Senza Nome", or "Without a name".
"It's true, we Italians don't consider 17 a good omen," said one Italian writer yesterday ahead of Italy's crucial Euro 2008 qualifier with Scotland this Saturday, 17 November.
A quick perusal of the record books shows that Italy have played 11 matches on the 17th of a month in the past 30 years. They have won just four. Painful reversals included the agonising World Cup final penalty defeat against Brazil, on 17 July 1994.
Will Scotland be grasping at this straw? Will they heck. "I'm not superstitious and that kind of thing doesn't come into it," said Andy Watson, managerial assistant to Scotland's Alex McLeish yesterday.
Nor does he believe Italy will arrive unsettled by the latest trauma in their domestic game that left one fan dead – shot by police – and many others rioting last weekend.
"My view is they will not be affected at all," Watson said. "I think they will be professional and disciplined. If you look at the last World Cup, there was a big furore [over match-fixing] which they turned to their advantage, and it didn't impinge on them. So I don't think the current troubles] will impact on them at all."
McLeish confirmed he has a fully fit squad, his only dilemma whether to play 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, and how to accommodate all his best players. "There'll be times we have to be patient," he said. "The Italians are very good at keeping the ball. If we go hell for leather and play just from our hearts, then the Italians are very capable of opening us up."
Latest in Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Jose Mourinho says Chelsea deserve to be setting pace going into Christmas fixtures
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho: 'He's good looking, speaks five languages, wins everything - it's unfair'
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader