Take rivers of beer, a nation that has been waiting for sixty years to win something and a national team that, with a pinch of honesty, would thrill even the most skeptical. You will have it’s coming home, the chorus that plagues Europe whenever the British feel they can win something. They sang it last night in London and Liverpool and Manchester, but also in Rome where some brave (or reckless, depending on your point of view) somehow arrived. He’s on his way home, yes but what? Football: since they invented it, at least in its modern form, they are keen to blame it on the rest of the planet. For a few decades, imagine, for this reason they even refused to play it with others. It was just fear of losing, as later results show. They sing the hateful choir, it was said, whenever they suspect they have a good national team in their hands. That is practically always, since they can be nice or unpleasant, but they are certainly arrogant, especially when it comes to football. And then, even in the darkest moments, the ball for them has always been the Premier League and little else. He’s been bad since ’66, but this time they might be right.
England is the strongest. In the sense that it is the most complete. You can think what you want about the championship: there are those who believe it is really the best in the world and those who see it overrated. For sure, he is the richest. And in the season that has just ended, an all-English final in the Champions League was celebrated: it will mean something, even in terms of mentality. England, which returns home victorious from the match in Rome, insidious not so much for the opponent but because the first and only one far from Wembley, does not have the best coach, but Gareth Southgate has been able to put the right players in the right place . Even at the cost of subverting hierarchies and taking nothing for granted. And then the former defender has an open account with the Europeans, from the one he was returning to in 1996 back home and then got lost on the way home because he missed a penalty. These are things that count on Eupalla’s scales. He doesn’t have the best defense and he certainly doesn’t have the best goalkeeper, yet in these European Championships he hasn’t conceded a goal and hasn’t suffered in seven games. She has faced several mediocre opponents, but among them there was also Germany who will not be excellent but usually in the end she wins. He will face another, Denmark, which has arrived where he did not even dare to imagine. After all, this is how you win, facing the right teams at the right time. He has something that no one else has, perhaps only France had it, which is the best manifesto of how much too much is too much. England is the strongest in the sense that it is the most complete, especially in terms of the depth of the squad. He has spare parts at the height in every sector of the field and keeps people on the bench who would be the owner elsewhere: last night Sancho played, in fact, for the first time. Bellingham is less than an extra, Grealish could be worth 100 million (inflating the price a lot, but so be it) and yet he only rubs it when things go wrong.
But Italy is more beautiful. But he doesn’t have Kane. Is one conjunction too many? No, because if England is the most complete, it can be countered by saying that the Azzurri are more beautiful. Undeniable, having said that before the Three Lions we will have to think about Spain and on balance we all underestimated it a little too much, perhaps it was even underestimated by itself. However, imagining an Italy-England final, which as far as we have seen so far would be the fairest epilogue of Euro 2020, Mancini’s boys expressed a very different game. And well over other opponents, which should say something. England plays in gusts and heads, often fatigue, the game does not hold it always and in any case. Italy illuminates the review with a football that even we are amazed at being able to do. It plays even better than 2006, and there was talk of the swan song of a generation of phenomena that has collected less than it should and could have. No one has the midfield of Italy, and for this reason no one plays like Italy which is a wonderful continuous triangle, stretches and shortens, goes back and forth always dictating the time, his own and that of the opponents. Among other things, our national team has conceded more goals than the treacherous English but only because they played against better strikers. He doesn’t have a Kane, and that could make a difference. Let’s be clear: the criticisms of Immobile leave the time they find. In blue it is not that of Lazio, true, but because he remains a very special striker who needs a certain type of game. Plus, and blame him for it, he may feel a lot. The fact is that he has scored a few goals, that Italy has always won so far and they have taught us football as a team game, which with two centimeters more in here would compete with Schick the Puskas Award 2021 for that lash against Austria . And so, Ciro, that’s okay. But it’s not Kane, in fact. After a complicated start, the English striker is making the European championship his own. He scores, but above all he makes the team play and moves like few other forwards know how to do around Europe. He is a champion, the last big number 9 left in this competition after Lukaku came out. One of those who can pull chestnuts out of the fire at any time. One like this, a big 9, is the real lack of this Italy. It could make a difference. Or Ciro could deny everything, and we would all be very grateful to him.