Italian Sport: L'Italia s'è desta
- WTI Magazine #141 Jul 17, 2021
Campioni d’Europa! Campioni d’Europa! This is the cry launched by millions of Italians on Sunday, July 11th, at the end of the final of the European Football Championship won by the Azzurri against the hosts England. The second one in history, after the one won in the 1968 edition organized in Italy, when some soccer legends such as Dino Zoff, Giacinto Facchetti, Giacomo Bulgarelli, Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Pierino Prati and Gigi Riva played in the National team. Then two lost finals, in 2000 against France and in 2012 against Spain, and after nine years from a bitter 4-0 against the Iberians, Italy returned to win the most important football competition in Europe.
An epic victory, which came in the temple of world soccer, the Wembley Stadium, against the inventors of soccer, the English, who had 60,000 boisterous supporters who booed the Italians from the anthem throughout the match, on the magical night of July 11th.
For Italy, the country where soccer is considered a religion, it was a victory with a thousand meanings. In 2020, we were the first European country to be hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and in the tragedy it was the British who offended the Italians by declaring that they were faking it when they were alarmed by the health situation. Starting with the English Prime Minister, the promoter of Brexit who so much dreamed of winning the championship of a Europe that does not want united.
The English, who invented soccer and who, in order to reach the final, benefited from some arbitral favor in the semifinal against Denmark. The English had a team full of international stars for the European Championship, considering that the roster had a market value of about 1.3 billion euros. The Italian team, on the other hand, was made up of young, not very famous players, considered "wingmen", "outsiders", “underdogs”. English newspapers considered Italy a mediocre team, which could not even dream of reaching the final.
Instead, what Italians have always demonstrated to the world, and not only in soccer, has happened. The strength of a group, the tactical intelligence, the "Italic" genius in always inventing some solution in order to reach the goal, the desire for redemption after having been defeated once again in a war, this time against a virus. And this time the merit was also due to the growing culture of integration of the Bel Paese, because among the protagonists of the incredible European success there were also three sons of the Italian diaspora (in Brazil), Jorginho, Emerson Palmieri and Rafael Tolói, who were as decisive as the others during the entire tournament.
It was the victory of Southern Europe against Northern Europe, increasingly detached from the love of a continent united by centuries-old culture and great values of democracy, which often forget they were invented by the Greeks and Latins. The victory of redemption for many reasons. The Italian people had been waiting for this moment for fifteen years, when the National team won its fourth World Championship by overwhelming the hosts of Germany in the semifinals and winning the final against France, which was covered in shame for the gesture of their star Zidane towards the Italian Materazzi, head-butted on the chest in full view during the match.
Italy, which is often denigrated, gave a lesson in democracy, efficiency, beauty, fantasy and team spirit to all of Europe with its victory at Wembley.
On the field, it demonstrated all of its strength, winning the three matches in the group against Turkey, Switzerland and Wales, then overcoming Austria in the round of 16, Belgium, number one in the world in the FIFA ranking, in the quarter finals, the formidable Spain in the semifinals and finally the hosts in the final on penalties.
Coached by Roberto Mancini, the former star of Sampdoria, the team from Genoa, to better understand what Italy has been able to do, it is enough to read the data of his National team after the Wembley final. 34 consecutive positive results, 29 wins and 5 draws. They have surpassed the famous records of Hungary, that from 1950 to 1954 played 30 matches without losing, and of Argentina, that from 1991 to 1993 remained unbeaten for 31 matches.
Numbers that consign the Italian national team to the immortality of soccer and world sports, and that make the Italian people proud of their country.
After almost two years in which the pandemic sowed terror throughout the nation, creating a sort of social depression, thanks to the Azzurri, as our anthem sung with joy by all Italians says, finally "L’Italia s'è desta!"
We are the champions. These are the champions
Goalkeepers: Gigio Donnarumma, Salvatore Sirigu, Alex Meret
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Emerson Palmieri, Alessandro Florenzi, Leonardo Spinazzola, Rafael Toloi
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella, Gaetano Castrovilli, Bryan Cristante, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli, Matteo Pessina, Marco Verratti
Strikers: Andrea Belotti, Domenico Berardi, Federico Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Giacomo Raspadori
Coach: Roberto Mancini. Staff: Daniele De Rossi, Chicco Evani, Attilio Lombardo, Lele Oriali, Fausto Salsano, Gianluca Vialli.