Italy: Demise of the Champions

Posted: June 24, 2010 in World Cup
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Did not see that coming.

Well, I sorta did – like I say, Italy look horribly easy to negate (like England) and are very old (like England). However unlike England their old players are bloody good as shown by four years previous. A draw with Paraguay was unexpected, another with New Zealand must have been embarrassing (but no-one else beat them either) but a loss to Slovakia who genuinely looked one of the worst teams here is just disastrous. And with it ends the careers of the likes of Pirlo, Gattuso, Zambrotta, and most significantly Fabio Cannavaro.

I think you’ll read enough about Italy elsewhere, and I’m knackered so I don’t want to harp on, but the one thing I do want to do before bed is pay tribute to Cannavaro.

When the final whistle blew, with Italy having missed a half-chance in the 6th minute of 4 minutes of stoppage time, their title defence ended and with it Cannavaro’s international career. Forget the eulogies of what an incredible defender he was, and still is even at 36. When that final whistle blew the camera panned to him and he was clearly on the verge of tears. But the guy sucked it up. The last place he probably wanted to be at that moment was in the glare of a camera lens and he probably wanted to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible. But with Quagliarella bawling his eyes out on the pitch, Cannavaro went over to him, hauled him to his feet, put his arm round him and walked him off the pitch, speaking softly. I’m sure it was in Italian but it looked like “be a man, be a man”.

In that moment he showed more balls than most leaders of a football team than I can think of. Sorry it had to end like this. Fabio Cannavaro; what a captain.


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