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Well done, Italy

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The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has welcomed the Italian team back to Italy after the final match of the European Championship of football 2012. Highlighting how bad things looked like before the EuroCup started, for Italy, he pointed out what an excellent performance the 4-0 defeat against Spain represented. Well, something like that.

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Let’s face it though: a 4-0 defeat is not good ground for celebrations. Unless you are a stats geek: it is in fact the largest winning margin in a Euro tournament final, so it makes for a change in the records. Spain has certainly the best team at the moment, but Italian players clearly underperformed: they looked tired, unfit, and they basically stopped playing after 60 minutes.

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Prandelli, Italy’s coach, admitted he was wrong in calling for the worn-out players, leaving the fresher ones on the bench, but he had a great explanation for why he did that: “I could have been more courageous, and change some of the team players. But that would have been disrespectful for those who had taken us to the final.

Take Thiago Motta, who replaced Montolivo at the 11th minute of the second half. After 6 minutes, his harmstring cracked, and he had to leave the pitch, leaving Italy with 10 players only: after that, the match turned into carnage.

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Now: Motta could have rightly complained for not being respected by Prandelli, had the latter judged him unfit to play in the final. And Prandelli owed it to Motta to give him 6 minutes in the Euro final, although the match was then lost. It’s pure logic, people, and if you don’t see it, that’s why you will never coach a football team.

The Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, aka “the sober” (google “Mario Monti sober” and you’ll see why), also praised Italy’s performance.

He showed the country’s support for the team, by flying to Kiev to be present at the stadium for the final, sitting next to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yanukovich, and other nice fella Lukashenko -and pondering “human rights, what human rights“?

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Written by TheItalianist

04/07/2012 at 14:09

Alex & Silvio

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The Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi went to Belarus yesterday to pay a visit to the country’s President, Alexander Lukashenko. The event gained relevance on the news worldwide, for it was the first visit of a Western leader to a country which, since 1991, had not had friendly links with the West. This visit is meant to represent a reopening of good relationships between Belarus and the West. A fuller description of the meeting can be found here, and here .

This is Lukashenko:

This guy is an interesting character. Some called him “Europe’s last dictator“. He supported the coup against Gorbachev, in 1991, and then succeeded in being elected President of Belarus in 1994, a position he has kept since then (incidentally, Berlusconi was elected PM, for the first time, in the same year. Mere coincidences.) A fuller biographical profile of Lukashenko can be found here. He has been widely criticized for making comments in which he seemed to imply that Hitler was an example of a great politician. Particularly, he is criticized for a too authoritarian regime, serious human right violations, violent repression of dissent and – allegedly- the ‘suppression’ of some opponents.

Berlusconi, on meeting Alex the Great, highlighted how Alex is loved by his people. Belarussians “love you, which is shown by the elections,” Berlusconi told Lukashenko. More than a meeting, the event became a competition for the best compliment. Did Silvio fall in love?

I wonder why Berlusconi chose such a controversial character to visit, given all the mess that is already going on in Italy at the moment. The italian news report the two reached agreements on the adoption of Belarusian children by Italians: definitely worth a trip to Belarus. Silvio will have time to deal with his own country, later.

Written by TheItalianist

01/12/2009 at 23:36