July 24, 2021

Italy-Spain, an Italian-style masterpiece. They with the tiqui-taca, we with the tuca-tuca

We are not the strongest of all, but we are not afraid of anyone. And after beating Spain too, with our ability to fight and suffer, we want to win this European Championship

They with Tiqui Taca and us with Tuca Tuca. In the end we won it in the Italian way. With the knife between his teeth, with the ability to defend, suffer and start again. Often with 11 players behind the line of the ball, when they closed us and for long stretches they hid the ball from us. We suffered immediately, risked, thanked their imprecision on a couple of occasions. They played better, but we won.

Because in football it is not enough to have the ball and command the game for 100 minutes out of 120, you also have to throw it inside. Spain missed the punch of the knockout, we were able to collect, resist. For football purists there are more exciting victories, but it is also a merit to win against those who are stronger. We played with the masters of dribbling, the talented grandchildren of a generation of myths who have hung up their boots. On the eve, perhaps with a bit of presumption, we believed we could play equal in the middle of the field.

We are Spain, we told ourselves. No, Spain is still them. It is their game, it is their trademark and Luis Enrique is a great coach and the man deserves all the joys which unfortunately will not serve to equalize the enormous pain of losing a daughter. Adelante Luis, there will be more trophies, we wish them. Despite our talented midfielders, we have not been able to hold a candle to their unmistakable style of play, but we have fielded what no other national team knows how to put like us when needed: our resistance, our ability to suffer: hang on. to that big nose of Chiellini, that sad nose like a climb that brings us back to Bartali’s epic. Because when you have to grit your teeth, what a relief to know that Giorgione is in the middle of the area and Gigio in goal that on penalties “you can take it from him for sure”. It was hard work, but we got to the bottom of it. And Wembley is starting to be a bit like our home: are we two wins out of two played in London and waiting for the opponent on 11 July, as the saying goes? There is no two …

Today we will know if between us and the greatest glory there will be the Danish fairy tale or England. Playing against the hosts, in front of an English audience of four fifths would be more difficult, but also more stimulating. After passing Belgium and Spain, who is there. Come on another one. Next the last one. We are not the strongest of all, but we are not afraid of anyone. Of course, now we want to win this European, but next Sunday’s result will not change the judgments. It was our European, that of rebirth, that of Mancini and of a team that has shone at times for the game, at other times for the ability to fight, always for the spirit of the group, witnessed once again by the exultation at the end of the game when everyone gathered around Insigne who was wearing Spinazzola’s shirt. To the cry of “Spina, Spina”, the unfortunate companion who saw her from Rome on TV. And how much we missed yesterday. We have whole pages for the report cards of our correspondents, to understand what went and what didn’t. Who has disappointed and who has kept us afloat. But football is a wonderful sport because passion and joy overwhelm everything at a certain point, even technical and tactical analyzes. We are in the final. Let’s enjoy it.