Italy’s out/Gigi Buffon, one man army

by Alberto Zali
– Like an army, falling one by one by one. This is how I’d like to paint Italy’s performance against Sweeden. Tonight, as Italians, we gave everything not withstanding a defeat we didn’t deserve. But that was not meant to be our fairytale. For the first time in half a century, we won’t take part to the World Cup.

Tonight we did not sink down, we weren’t waiting for the chance to break through their defence. We were fierce and forceful lions, fighting against our fate. One man kept standing ‘till the very end, one man was eager to prove anyone he was still the main player on the field. The tears shed by our captain Gigi Buffon broke our hearts in a million pieces. Renouncing was not a possibility he took in consideration until the final whistle. Tonight, Gigi was not a goalkeeper, he was a striker. Seeing him leaving his goal, assaulting the enemy field to score at any cost gave – I believe – all the spectators chills we’re not used to anymore. This what football is meant to be. It’s a bunch of feelings capable of reuniting the whole family in front of a television, which nowadays is something really unusual.

Even though a lot of criticisms can be said about our performance, such as that we weren’t able to score despite our efforts, and many others can be said about our behaviour on the field, I would have no hesitations in defining tonight match my favourite one. Italians can’t bear another loss right now, it’s not only about football. This cup was our opportunity to prove everyone we are still in there. Gigi understood that, and furthermore this was going to be his last World Cup. That’s why he tried so hard. He was there to reppresent all of us.

But in the end, we lost. We lost the very moment the public started to whistle at the opponents’ athem, right from the beginning. However, we led a great match, to let the world know we’re not the oldish rotten Italy. We’re still a country full of values and sense of honor.