My forecast for the France-Italy World Cup match was wrong, but the Italians won the match with an excellent example of low trust trickery.
First, here’s a Brit commentary showing how hard it is for high trust observers to comprehend low trust behavior:
Marco Materazzi finished the game of his life screeched down from every corner of the Olympic Stadium for having the temerity to be butted by Zinedine Zidane.
Actually Materazzi provoked Zidane – the top French player, who’d scored their only goal – into attacking him, and then took a dive. The Argentinian referee red carded Zidane and took him out of the match.
The Italians cleverly exploited the fact that the referee was the guy who sent of England’s champion, Rooney, after a Portuguese player provoked him. He didn’t send off the Portuguese player, so an Italian repeat carried little risk.
You can see their provocation here.
The Italian physically restrains the Frenchman from the ball – a very serious foul, but one of the 50% that aren’t detected.
The Frenchman walks away and a conversation takes place. I’m guessing the Italian made some well rehearsed comments to wind the Frenchman up further. These successfully provoked him to violence, so probably involved donkeys and the Frenchman’s mother, wife or daughter.
The Frenchman then buts the Italian in the chest. My brothers & I did this to each other when we were kids (we were a close family). It hurts a bit but doesn’t knock you down. But (no pun), in this case the Italian is hurled to the ground, i.e. takes a dive.
The referee wants to ignore it but the Italian coach demands that justice be done so he sends Zidane off. Without their best striker, France loses the match.
So how does this modify the theory, which incorrectly predicted France would win?
(France is) right at the bottom of the high trust 20 – not so high trust that it won’t happily deliver a good foul, but high enough to play well as a team. Italy is low trust (40th most trustworthy in the world) and will depend on taking out the best French players.
The match showed France wasn’t low trust enough to combat Italian dirty play with their own, and wasn’t high trust enough to overcome that play with better teamwork.
Going forward, I’d expect low trust nations to dominate international soccer because – as this incident shows – it’s impossible for the ref and linesmen to monitor every interaction between all the players.
Soccer fans in high trust nations should follow the sports exclusive to high trust nations – cricket, baseball, basketball, the variants of rugby, and American football.
I’m left in the unusual position of feeling sorry for the French, and have suspended my boycott of their wine (until they next annoy me). Plus I’m embarking on an Italian real-estate transaction, and this reminds me to be even more paranoid about them than usual.
This result is good news for the Brits – if the Argentineans invade the Falklands again, I don’t see the French supplying them with Exocets.