Azzurri bite the dust, again

World Cup Special

Brando de Leonardis
July 3, 2014

Once again, Italy has failed to reach the final-16 of the World Cup (for a second consecutive time). A disastrous result for the Nazionale that, just eight years ago, lifted the World Cup up into the sky and gifted a smile of hope to an entire nation, which was on the brink of collapse due to the economic crisis.


In the match against Uruguay, we can ascribe blame to referee Moreno Rodriguez, guilty of sending off Claudio Marchisio for a tackle, for which a yellow card would have been enough, and of not seeing Suárez intentionally bite Chiellini, deserving of a sending off.  But blaming the referee ends here. Reality tells us that against Uruguay (but also in the game versus Costa Rica) the Italian team coached by Cesare Prandelli accomplished nothing.


It was a bitter farewell, which led Prandelli to attack the press and public opinion: ‘Before accepting the new contract proposal (renewed before the beginning of the World Cup), there was an intention to do something different for Italian football, but after I signed the new contract, I was verbally abused and there was much aggression towards me. It’s almost as if we’ve become a political party, and I do not intend to “steal” public money, therefore I decided to resign.’ Perhaps Prandelli should be humble enough to look introspectively and admit that much of this failure is also his fault: wrong call-ups, questionable tactics and a plan that had neither a clear shape nor objective. It has never been clear what Italy’s aim was in the competition; for sure not the final, as Prandelli had suggested before departing for Brazil.


Italy has returned home, sadly and cruelly, submerged by the criticism of the international press, but even more so by the boulders of national public opinion. With Italy down on its knees since the start of the Uruguay match, with the worst Balotelli of all time, who cried after the referee’s final whistle.


Italian football needs a fresh start, no doubt. It would be a dream come true if this happened elsewhere, and not just in football. Because, as always, the problem is at the root, it’s never the fruit. And the root, in Italy, is often rotten. We must invert the trend of being an old country, which is so unaccustomed to focusing on young people, that when it does, it often wastes their talent.

Italian football, both at a national and club level, is close to collapsing. Reforms are needed, as well as ideas and personality. Four World Cups are not won by chance, but neither is it a coincidence that the Italian national side has gone out at two consecutive editions at such an early stage.


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