For centuries they have served us the emeritus bale of “british style”. As Melchiorre Gioia wrote at the beginning of his “New etiquette”, a wild fruit is sometimes born among the thorns, “and it is bitter or tasteless on the palate”. But grafting and cultivation strip it of its thorns, “and make it sweet and tasty”. Metaphor of civilization.
On Sunday evening, however, a Wembley and its surroundings the British proved themselves rude and rude. And even worse. On the account of the nineteen year old Bukayo Saka, guilty – in the eyes of the fans – of having missed the decisive penalty, disgusting racist insults rained down, “go back to Nigeria”, “Get out my country” and away with the miserable repertoire of xenophobia and discriminatory offenses, also directed at the other two players who missed the shot from eleven meters, Marcus Rashford e Jadon Sancho: “It is unacceptable” was the comment of the London Met Police who in the meantime he had arrested 45 ultras for the attacks against the Italian fans (after the game there was a real hunt against them) and for the devastation around the stadium and in the squares where there had been gatherings and furious brawls. It’s one thing to be a fan. Another, fanatics.
Questionable, if not disrespectful, then, the attitude of English players during the award ceremony for second place. Many of them they took the medal off their necks, as a sign of contempt. Not everyone complimented the Azzurri, in contempt of the most elementary rules of sportsmanship. Not to mention the authorities in the stands, starting with Prince William’s royal family: immediately after the last penalty saved by Donnarumma, they ran away. Very different was the hospitality of King Juan Carlos who celebrated with Sandro Pertini the success of Italy at the 1982 World Cup organized in Spain. It was also then a Sunday 11 July. Mancini’s national team played with history and won again.
I can understand the expectations, the frustration, the dejection. But not the rudeness. Nor the prosopope of those who think they have already won, as reflected in the letter of wishes from Queen Elizabeth sent on the eve of the Wembley final to the English team, in which she remembers the great satisfaction for having delivered the world trophy to Bobby Moore in 1966, and expresses the hope “that the game will go down in history not only for the success but also for the spirit and pride with which you will face it”.
When Boris Johnson greeted our president Sergio Mattarella, upon arrival at the stadium, he told him in Italian “Come on Italy!”, and it was nice. He wore the white England shirt under his jacket. But after the game ended, he disappeared.
The sober Mattarella during the whole meeting showed a very contained cheering, but not without some comments tinged with calm Sicilian irony (Vitaliano Brancati teaches…). At the beginning of the fateful penalty sequence, he whispered to those next to him (Valentina Vezzali, the great foil player today Undersecretary for Sport; the volcanic Evelina Christillin, UEFA councilor; Gabriele Gravina, president of the FIGC): “We are in the hands, indeed no, we are in the hands of Donnarumma”. When the good English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved the shot of Jorginho, the one who would have given the victory to Italy, was unable to hide his disappointment, “I never thought that he himself would have been wrong …”.
Only after Donnarumma’s second parade, helped by Matteo Berrettini and by Vezzali, he exhibited the tricolor, in a stadium as speechless and packed as an egg (more than two thirds of the capacity, as assured by the organizers). In the tragic silence of ignominious defeat, the English fans were out in no time. This too, an ugly collective gesture. They deserve ours cippirimarlo, onomatopoeic mockery that Gianni Brera wrote and described often and willingly: it should be accompanied by a flutter of all the fingers aligned in front of the tip of the nose.
Consola Mattarella, snubbed by the royals and the peasant of the Brexist authorities, the fact that 70 percent of the French, as asserted the team (title of the first page: “La Happiness”, in Italian) cheered for Italy, a percentage that rises to 75 per cent in Spain, thanks also to the elegant declaration of Luis Enrique after the defeat, on penalties in the semifinals, which would have supported the Blue Team. Even the tennis player Novak Djokovic, who had just defeated Matteo Berrettini in four sets and won his sixth Wimbledon title, the third in a row and who is booking for the Grand Slam. The same refined Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has unbalanced, also for obvious political reasons, Italy in the field for the European Union and England for the deplorable and divisive sovereignty of Brexit: “My heart is with Italy”. The Belgian newspapers have emphasized the success of the Mancini gang, carousels and great cheering have been in Brussels, in many other capitals where the presence of our emigrants is consistent (Australia, South America).
They rejoiced, of course, the Scottish, for ancestral reasons: “It’s coming Rome!”, the independence newspaper teases on the front page The National. 63 per cent of Scots, Welshs and Northern Irish cheered Italy. Not just enthusiasm. But also attempts to explain the side effects of such a success inevitably weighed down by responsibilities and expectations that go far beyond the sporting event. In this sense, the article by The world which devotes a full page to “Italian Renaissance“(Photo and reference on the front page) entitled:” A victory can make you forget the mourning, the fear and the restrictions “.
But no one had the audacity to bother Maradona, like the Clarin of Buenos Aires, sure that it has never been able to rejoice from up there as in this weekend: the Argentina of Messi (no longer Messinscena …) he won the South American title by beating Brazil at home at the Maracana. Italy, the second homeland of the Pibe de Oro, where he played his best seasons with Napoli, disillusioned England by beating them in his “cave” at Wembley. The Mano de Dios. Gigi Donnarumma’s hand. Wonderful game of Eupalla and her variously intertwined destinies.