Friday, June 25, 2010

Singing the azzurri

What a terrible Italian team - how can an Italian defence concede three goals like that?
Even worse, they showed in the last 10 minutes they could have wiped the floor with Slovakia if they'd put their minds to it.

Of course, I blame Berlusconi.

In fact some members of his governing coalition do blame Berlusconi - after a fashion. His Minister for Simplification (no, I'm not joking) Calderoli claims the problems are (as usual) down to the excess of foreigners, this time in the Italian league. And Berlusconi's free spending ways at the helm of AC Milan in the early 1990s set the trend for building teams around foreign stars, culminating in the success of Inter this year in the Champions League without a single Italian in the line-up. Inter is owned by the Moratti family, and Letizia Moratti has been Minister for Education and Mayor of Milan representing Berlusconi's party. So, you see, it really is his fault...

The real issue is the failure to rejuvenate the squad, where the aging legs of Cannavaro, Pirlo, Gattuso and Zambrotta are no longer up to the task. To replace the target man Luca Toni (33) Lippi called up di Natale (31). Not that youth is the panacea - witness 27 year old Pepe's excuse for a shot in the final seconds.

This could be a coincidence, but one can't help noticing that football is not the only part of Italian society where the old guard refuses to shuffle off stage with dignity.