In the wake of England’s defeat on penalties last night, we look at the reaction in the Italian press.
England’s performance was not viewed favourably at all, and La Repubblica summed up the general feeling with the headline “an act of justice”.
Cesare Prandelli, the Italian coach, echoed the sentiment after the game “we played a great match and we deserved to win, they were not good”.
The poor reviews of the Three Lions continue in La Repubblica which says that it “would have been absurd to be defeated by these Englishmen” on a day where they were dominant for the majority of the game.
As everyone expected, Roy Hodgson’s team sat back and defended, in the hope that they could steal the win and “England almost succeeded in making it the perfect crime” (il Mattino). A “perfect crime” similar to that of Chelsea in their Champions League campaign, but according to La Gazetta “the laws of football would not allow another defensive approach to be successful”. Contrary to expectations the Italians played some expansive attacking football and it was “unique players like Daniele de Rossi and Andrea Pirlo” that set the blues above the English (Corriere della Sera). “If England had of won, it would have been unjust” (La Nazione).
Corriere della Sera pointed out though that the Azurri last night were “a classic Italian team… lacking the finishing touch”. As Italy missed more and more chances, the fans and perhaps even the players started to think that it wasn’t their night. The Metro said “when De Rossi wasted such an easy opportunity to score… it was like black clouds were gathering over Italy”. In the end they were not made to pay, but the Azurri will have to be much more clinical if they want to succeed against the Germans.
The Italian media have now turned their attention to Thursday’s semi-final against Germany. There is a feeling of apprehension as they recognise that they have “little offensive game” and they are about to come across Joachim Low’s team “who are perhaps the strongest of all”(Il mattino).
Corriere della Sera provides a slightly more positive outlook with the headline: “We have the worst attack of the finalists but almost the best team. Why not try to win the Euros?”
La Gazzetta also realises that previous history between the two teams gives Italy a glimpse of hope: “Italy vs. Germany again…Sweet Memories!” Germany have never beaten Italy in tournament football, and the fans will want this run to continue on Thursday night, as the last two times that they played each other in competition the Azurri have gone on to be crowned champions.
In the 1982 World Cup Italy beat Germany 3-1 in the final, and on their way to success at the 2006 World Cup, beat Germany 2-0 in the semi-finals.
“Italy themselves say that they are becoming the surprise package of this European Championship” and despite Germany’s sensational form in this tournament La Repubblica say “that it is not always the best team that wins”.