The CT must be good – indeed: very good – Roberto Mancini, to try to win the European 2021 and defeat a taboo that sees the Azzurri only once winners of this event. Over the years, taboo has become an obsession and obsession a curse.
We have won 4 World Championships (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006), but only one European. Not a little? It was 1968 and the wind of the student protest was blowing across Europe. Italy lived through the years of the economic boom, which would have resulted, however, a decade later in the grayest and bloodiest period of our post-war history: the Years of Lead.
The triumph of the Azzurri – in 1968 – was truly the last fire of an era that had transformed our country.
And to say that Italy came to that tournament back from the most bitter disappointment in its history: the elimination at the 1966 World Cup, by Korea. A disgrace, an open wound. That of 1968 was an edition organized by Italy, the Azzurri played at home and the occasion was truly unrepeatable. That team – made up of a group of champions such as Mazzola and Rivera, Riva and Anastasi, Facchetti and Zoff – she was helped by the Blindfolded Goddess in the semifinal against the Soviet Union – won thanks to the draw, with a lucky coin that smiled at our team – but he deserved the cup by beating Yugoslavia 2-0 in the repetition of the final. The hero of that night was a Sicilian boy, Pietruzzo Anastasi.
53 years have passed since then and European disappointments have followed one another. Italy has reached only on another occasion, in 2000, against France, which two years earlier had become world champion. That time the national team lulled the dream of victory until the last moment of the match, when France found a draw. In extra time came another goal from the French to definitively extinguish Italy’s illusions.
Starting from 11 June – the day of Italy’s inaugural match against Turkey at the Olimpico in Rome – CT Mancini will be forced to play – also – a match against the European-Taboo. In 1968 that victory was consumed in the wind of the Revolution and led millions of Italians to celebrate in the squares, who knows whether – Covid-19 restrictions permitting – once again the Azzurri know how to give joy to their fans.
A European like this has never been seen before: everything is ready for the strangest tournament ever
Dino Zoff: “To the European Championship to get to the end”