Thursday, June 24, 2010

Azzurri, che figuraccia

Although I am profoundly indifferent to team sports, every now and then something particularly big garners even my notice.

This morning as I was at the gym on some cardio machine I was forced to watch parts of a game with Italy. Even I know enough to recognize Lippi (the coach, left) and Cannavaro (the captain.) I thought nothing more of it until I checked the online editions of Italian and American newspapers just now, and found out that defending champ Italy was eliminated in the first round by (get this) Slovakia.

This hadn't happened for decades; since 1974, to be precise. Mr. Lippi had the decency to take responsibility for the unexpected outcome. This is not at all common for Italians to do when something awful happens. Perhaps they can learn from him and get something out of this after all. But I don't think so.

The news was on many foreign sites. Germans, Brits, and the French took the opportunity to kick their fellow Europeans when they're down (kicking being rather fitting for soccer, actually.) Examples from their front pages: Ciao, Italia; Arrivederci, then, Italy; Ciao, ciao, ciao; and Mamma mia, quel desastre!