Wednesday, July 05, 2006


If you're an Italian or just a fan of the Azzurri then there is something of an air of destiny about their performance in Germany. A feeling that another star adorning the jersey is not only inevitable but imminent.

Some might say that Italy's peformance so far has been lackluster. While they topped their group it was an unconvincing performance and the Italian media was scathing towards the team and Marcello Lippi, the coach. Then they narrowly scraped through on a disputed penalty against Australia. That game seems to have spurred them into action because they thrashed Ukraine in the quarters and then followed it up with a solid victory against Germany in the semis.

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. History tells us that every time that Italy has scored 12 goals in a World Cup Tournament that have returned home as Champions. At this tournament they have scored 11 goals so far. History also tells us that only Brazil has beaten them (twice) in the final. Add all that to the fact that Italy hasn't been beaten since Sept 2004.

And there is also an air of justice about this tournament for the Italians. The wrongs of 2002 have been somewhat rectified by the penalty against Australia. But also the fact that the Germans won the tournament when it was last hosted in Italy (1990). Now the Italians have not only knocked the Germans out but may get to return the favour.

But I don't believe in destiny. Any illusions about inevitable victories in a World Cup have been snuffed out repeatedly, most recently in the 94th minute on June 26th, 2006. If Italy are to win they will have to earn it.

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