Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Il Biscotto

As mentioned this morning – it is D-Day on the second to last day of the group stage at the Euro 2008 Championships; surprise, surprise, controversy is the word of the day…actually the word of the day is “biscotto” (Italian cookie).

More than any other nation of fans – the Italians go into each and every tournament not only expecting to win, but believing it is their God given right, their destiny, to take home the grand prize – anything less than a championship can be explained by a conspiracy to prevent the Azzurri from winning another championship. The entire world is against them.

The Brazilians and Argentineans expect to win.

The Spaniards, Germans and French believe they can win.

The Portuguese hope they can win – that damn feeling of saudade.

The Italians though – well, they believe they are God’s team and it is their destiny to win.

The Italians go into today’s game knowing that their fate rests in the hands of the Dutch and Romanians – those directly connected to the Azzurri are in full gamesmanship mode, attempting to shame the Dutch into taking care of business for them. Without outright questioning the integrity of the Dutch, they have gone on record as stating that a loss by the Dutch today would naturally raise questions about Oranje’s desire to avoid another potential matchup with Italy in the semi-finals. The Italians are imploring the Dutch to uphold the integrity of the game and not roll over for the Romanians today – hmmm, football (soccer) – Italia – Integrity…hmmm ok.

Their supporters are already offering up excuses for a potential early exit from a tournament they have not nearly been as dominant as they would like everyone to believe. The fans talk about the biscotto – an Italian cookie – and how the Dutch and the Romanians are going to squeeze the Azzurri out…much like the sandwich-like little cookie they love having with their espresso.

They are seemingly oblivious to the fact that they came into this tournament, not necessarily as the best team (not even really top four in terms of talent), but with “favourite” tag bestowed on them by virtue of the World Cup win in 2006 – which included knockout round victories world powers like the Ukraine and Australia. Their fan base is largely ignorant of the blessed draws the Italians always seem to fall into – but keenly aware (read screaming “conspiracy”) of the odd time they may fall into a tough group.

The arrogance on the part of this fan base is obscene – the “Italiani” are masters of the double slap – only the Azzurri and their supporters could package a double insult in one simple statement. It isn’t good enough for them to question the integrity/character of the Dutch – no, they choose their words carefully enough so as to completely discount the Romanians (who won one and tied one against the Dutch in qualifying for the tournament).

The Italians, for the first time in ages, being lumped into a “group of death” at an international tournament are in unfamiliar territory – their usual strategy of picking up a couple of ties and sneaking out a win in the group stage hasn’t worked out this time, and to hear them speak, it is everyone else’s fault.

To the fans of the Azzurri, this page says, DEAL WITH IT. As fans of the Maple Leafs, we agonized for three hours on the final day of the 2006/2007 NHL season when the New Jersey Devils “rested” Martin Brodeur in a game that had playoff implications for us.

The best possible result today would be a tie between the Italians and the French – and a win by the Dutch. That just might leave the Azzurri speechless…but knowing them like I do, I highly doubt it.

Ugly week last week – this week will be better.

New York over San Diego – the Yankees should be able to rough up Randy Wolf; meanwhile the Padres couldn’t hit off of Hurricane Hazel. Lay $100 on the Yankees - $165.

Chicago over Pittsburgh – Vasquez over Snell…enough said. Lay $100 on the White Sox - $170.

Los Angeles over Cincinnati – Chad Billingsley is the most likely candidate to right this mess in Los Angeles. Lay $100 on the Dodgers + $105.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world – we’ve got a seat for you on the Quinas bandwagon.

I’m Out!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Website Counter
Website Counter