Happy Duke’s Birthday Day – or whatever it is you are supposed to say on these occasions. It’s a public holiday in Luxembourg and yesterday was the National Day with much of fireworks (beautiful), street festival (crowded) and dancing in the street till dawn (not for me). I had kicked off the evening watching what I hoped would be an entertaining match between Italy and Spain. David Friggieri was in the Duchy and he joined me at home – thus I could watch the match with someone partial to a team and not in absolute objective (barring Del PIero, Camoranesi, Chiellini and Buffon) mood.
From the moment the ref whistled go (and the two bloggers sat consuming gluten-free pasta with dried tomatoes and garlic sauce) till the save by Casillas on Di Natale, the match produced nothing more than boring possession, chess-work and an incredible display of ineptitude by the supposedly formidable striker LucaToni. Not to mention the dives, the theatricals and the childish reactions that were no advert to football. I know that everyone is always wiser afterwards but I have long been saying that Donadoni is not the best coach Italy could have. Either that or the depth of choice for quality Italian players is very weak in many departments.
The styleDonadoni insisted on displaying during this cup is worthy of a Serie B team – one that can easily be reduced to getting the ball forward to Toni and pray he will hold it down long enough for one of the other players to leave their defensive stronghold and shoot at goal. I never was a big fan of the “torre” style of play (then again I fail miserably at Football Manager coaching Grimsby so for all you know all this tactic tall is a load of bull).
I have witnessed a couple of Italy matches in the presence of ultra fanatics of the Azzurri and I am glad to report that at the end of each match they concurred with this opinion. For once the Italians should (and probably will) admit that a victory by their team in these Championships would have been a huge stroke of “culo”. What really surprised me were Donadoni’s post-match comments – “We were not beaten. We lost at penalties”. Something of the sort. Which throws a bit of a damper on his country’s latest World Cup feat doesn’t it?
Well… not many people are gracious in defeat. But claiming a quasi-victory? That’s life I guess… and football. I only learnt that my predictions do not work. My bets would have been on Romania, Holland, Portugal and Spain. Only one is left and I have serious doubts that they will survive the impact of the Russians. We’ll see.
I’m off to enjoy the rare sun we’ve got on this National Holiday in Luxembourg. Take care and Win the Best.