Italy vs. Germany is more than just a football match.
Last Thursday, we (Italian) experienced the best moment of the European Championship, one of the best moment in football. It is true that the final was a tragedy and that the cup is not in Rome, but we had the greatest moment of joy in the semi-finals and the eventual victory of the tournament would have been a mere icing on the cake. That game will be remembered by us as the match of the tournament for one simple reason: it was Germany against Italy.
THE GAME – Italy vs. Germany is not just a football match. Italy vs. Germany is the football match. In every corner of the Bel Paese and in every region of Germany this game is perceived as the sporting event of the year, the match that cannot be missed. Is the same in the rest of the World, especially in the countries that are mad about this sport, this game is a must-see, a classic of this sport.
Argentina vs. Brazil is arrogantly referred by South Americans as the “Super Clasico” but is not even close to be a classico of the standard of the European Derby, the Azzurri against the Panzer. The Latin American match is undoubtedly a big game, one of the classics, but it is the fight between us and the Germans the best match in the world because it represents the essence of football. Italy vs. Germany is class, imagination and fantasy against organization, precision and ice-cold feeling. In short, this game is the representation of the two types of football, is the battle between the enfant terrible and the professor.
This is a special game for the Italians because the Germans never defeated the Azzurri in a tournament and it evokes to us beautiful memories. Who does not remember or never watched the highlights of old Italy vs. Germany? Every Italians has a particular moment of these historical clashes that is deep in their hart, and every generation has had its own great Italy vs. Germany victory to tell to the younger generation. The scream of Tradelli, the streets parties, Schnellinger’s goal in the 92nd minute and the Rivera 4th and final goal of the 1970 semi-final, the street parties, Schnellinger’s goal in the 92nd minute and Rivera 4th and final goal of the match in the 1970 Italy 4 – Gemany 3 semi-final, the thousands of Tricolore and German flags in the stadiums, Grosso’s gol in 2006 and Caressa’s scream “We are going to Berlin!”, president Pertini celebration and “World Champions!, World Champions!, World Champions!” by Nando Martellini are some great memories of the Italy vs. Germany matches. Today more footage were added to the collection and the impressive chest of “Super Mario” Balotelli and sad faces of the Germans become part of the album of memories of this great football fight.
This sporting event is worth much more than just football supremacy or qualification to the next round. This game is a cultural fight, a battle between two populations who do not love each other and use football as a nationalist weapon, the German side to confirm their sporting and economic power and the Italian side for revenge against their European “friend”. Germany has always been the most powerful then the Bel Paese and from the alliance during the WWII the Germans has always considered us inferior and we were treated like inferior. After the war, many of us migrated to Northern Europe and in most cases we received a very cold reception from them. That’s why Germany vs. Italy is not just a game, is the clash between two nationalities who do not like each other attitude and hardly want to be friends.
LACK OF STYLE – The game last Thursday gave to the viewer joy, excitement and entertainment but the media of both states managed to destroy everything with the usual unprofessional journalism. Both Italians and Germans media did their best this year to write the worst newspaper headlines and made the rudest comments ever.
The German press made fun of us as usual in the days before the game, but the lowest moment came when there was the “technical” debate during the half-time break where Reinhold Beckmann and Mehmet Scholl from the channel Ard, referred to Cassano and Balotelli as two “Straßenköter” (stray dogs) and two “Pflegefälle” (literally ” invalids ” but in this particular context can be translated as “nursing cases”). A TV comments of such low style that immediately made headlines and sparked huge controversy among the 28 million German-speaking viewers. The Swiss-German tabloid Blickch asked the immediate resignation of the two journalists.
The Italian media were even better actually I should say that we were simply rude and unprofessional. The front pages of Italian newspapers on Friday morning were full of headlines that were of such poor taste that seemed be written by journalists with a primary school certificate. The TuttoSport started with the front page headline that said “We made them black!” and the photo of Balotelli,really sad. Libero had the title “VaffanMerkel” a joke that literally means “Fuck Off Merkel”, a front page that looks like is been written by a teenager and then, the masterpiece of all of the Friday newspaper, Il Giornale with the headline “Ciao Ciao Culona” (Culona mean fat ass and they referred to the German PM’s bottom), a front page such rudeness that there are no words to describe how disgusted I was when I read it. This was another confirmation that we are a nation with incompetent journalists and with low level newspapers.
Eventually there were also incidents between the Azzurri and Germans supporters in Germany but, frankly, given the level of the media we have in both states I am not surprise at all that the fans had taken part in brawls.
BE HAPPY – We should be depressed, still shocked by the beating we took on Sunday night, but we are not upset about the second place, we are sad about the fact that the 4-0 defeat against the best team in history was too harsh and did not give justice to a tournament played very well from us.
Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that the Azzurri would have gone into the final? Who would have bet a euro on the second place in the Euro 2012 a few weeks ago? And most importantly, who would have thought of such a good win over Germans on the semi-finals?
Let’s face it, nobody believed we could do a good Euro this year, let alone beat the favorite Germans.
This tournament will be remembered not for second place but for the fact that he had confirmed that we are the German’s nightmare. Eight matches in the final stages of tournaments and never a defeat, four draws, three semi-finals and a final wins and we conquered a fourth World Cup title in Berlin. For them we are not just the Italian team, we are the “Azzurri curse”, the only team that they have never been able to beat in a tournament.
This nightmare is something horrible for them and it gives immense pain every time that the bad memories come back to life. Their pain does not end at the final whistle of the match; the end of the game is just the beginning of another damned day. That “Azzurri curse” propagates from the stadium to the streets, and the German football fans have to watch the usual celebrations of thousands of Italian immigrants.
Italy vs. Germany is a game that can triggers celebration all over the country and around the world, with hundreds of cars and flags on the streets. It makes us forget for a few hours all the problems of our country and makes us feel stronger than the powerful rivals.
So let’s the party begin and the joy spread around every time we beat them, because they are economically, politically and socially better than us but they cannot do the simplest thing in the world: beat us at football.
We are their nightmare, the “Azzurri curse”.