Remember way back when I told you how I, as an Italy fan, was getting ready for my team’s opening game against Spain in the group stages?
I had my jersey ready.
I had the flag at my disposal.
And for good measure, I had all forms of deities I can get to at hand:
Now that my team has reached the final after an awesome win against Germany (which I was deep-down expecting but went about lowering my expectations and doing some necessary pre-game damage control, just in case. Those Lebanese football fans can sure be a pain when you lose), how will I get ready for the big finale?
Well, if anything, this Euro tournament has shown that you cannot dismiss the Italians easily, which many (including some of their supporters *raises hand* have done).
1 – Some hadn’t expected Italy to get past the group stage. They did.
2 – Some didn’t expect Italy to then beat a very mediocre England in the quarter finals. They dominated England and were unlucky not to have won in the game’s original time. Many had even predicted a 3-0 score for England. Those same people are predicting a 3-1 Spain win today.
3 – Once Italy reached the semi-finals against Germany, the only thing you could hear is resounding confidence how this will be the end of the road for the Italians. But it was far from it. The Italians should have won with more than two goals.
So what’s my mentality going in to the final?
Well, I cannot but have a faint tinge of panic (or a lot of panic). But I am proud of what they have done in this tournament. Italy have proven that they are so much fun to watch. They are attacking, creating chances. Not just scoring on a counter-attack and parking their legendary bus, stopping any team from even thinking about scoring.
On the other hand, Spain have been boring this Euro tournament. Their game against Portugal was such a pain to watch that I ended up catching up on my reading and blogging about a festival named Wickerpark before they reached the penalty shoot-out during which I still had no idea which team I wanted to advance. Out of the six goals they scored, four were against the same team (Ireland). Their showing against all the other teams they played (Croatia, Portugal, Italy) was far from impressive.
Am I confident Italy will win today? Hardly. But regardless of what the result of tonight’s game turns out to be, I – as a supporter of the Azzurri – am extremely happy with what they’ve accomplished and hope the cherry on top will be them winning.
Rising from the tournament’s underdogs to stars, this Italy side has proven that one doesn’t simply take them lightly. The game tonight will be great to watch, as was the group stage game between both teams.
I think Pirlo will be as great as he was in all of this tournament’s games. I think Balotelli will shine again. I think Buffon will prove, yet again, why he is the world’s best goalkeeper – bar none.
But regardless of what happens: FORZA EFFIN ITALIA! I can’t wait to see what Prandelli does with Italy in the next World Cup.