01 July 2012

The Final

Well, that was unexpected.
Although Spain are my team, my father's people, the Italian national team was my first football love so this final brought out mixed emotions. I both cheered and groaned with every goal; I was happy at the final whistle but felt so bad for the Italian players. It was a tragic way to lose it, on that bit of bad luck. Playing against Spain 11 v 11 is already hard enough but 11 v 10 is a near impossible task.
But let's face it, Spain were already 2-0 up by halftime when it was still an even contest. What was interesting is how Italy surged back after each of those first two goals; how they looked more likely to score after conceding which is something I haven't seen from them before. It was heartening but they just couldn't break through that Spanish defense (even missing a Puyol!) and then you really could see them deflate after going down a man.
But Spain, well, they were just beautiful. After days and days of reading bitter English press about how "boring" Spain was, it was so great to see them rub that boring tag in their detractors' noses. This win felt really good unlike the surprise & joy of the 2008 or 2010; this one felt needed as vindication. This team will go down in history as one of the greats and players like Xavi & Iniesta are already well on their way to being legends.
A worthy winner in every respect.