Monday, 19 April 2010

ITALY

THEY ARE:
Tarred with the brush of being home of the Cosa Nostra, the Mafia. In many ways this makes them a terrifying country. Whether The Sopranos and Jersey Shore are positive reputations of the Italian experience (via American media) they are indeed exciting ones.

AS A FOOTBALL NATION:
They have always been there or there about. For years Serie A was considered the greatest football league on the planet able to draw the greatest players from all over the earth which came coupled with some of the most fanatical and passionate support that still remains today. Unfortunately a lot of corruption taints the league also but nonetheless it remains a very exciting league. As an international team they have won the World Cup four times, most recently in 2006 but famously in 1982 when Paolo Rossi ran all over the tournament. They have also won the European Championships once, back in 1968.

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:
Many people consider the Italia 90 tournament the birth of modern football and the way in which Schillachi seemed to come out of nowhere (and promptly disappear back into nowhere) was genuinely exciting. In 2006 they were my draw in the office sweepstake which saw me take home £31. Thank you Italy.

IN 2010:
The legends from 2006 are now all but gone and this is now a young team. Expectations are low so returns will probably be high.

FAMOUS PLAYERS:
The scream of Marco Tardelli is up there with Edvard Munch. Additionally there is Rossi, Baggio and dozens of other historical figures.

MOST OBVIOUS REFERENCE:
Spaghetti.

AWAY FROM FOOTBALL:
Fellini gave the world a sideways view of proceedings. Pisa has a leaning tower.

NUMBER OF PEOPLE FROM ITALY THAT I KNOW:
Joe, who is currently in Japan.

QUOTE FROM AN ITALIAN:
It’s coming.

DO I LIKE THEM:
Yes but I wouldn’t want England to have to play them.

FINAL COMMENT:
Italy has perhaps the greatest set of stereotypes in this tournament.

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