Here we are, the Euros have concluded, and it might be fair to say June so far, has been full of excitement over a surprisingly unpredictable sporting drama in Poland & Ukraine.
Big names have been accustomed to the bitter slice of sporting reality, seeing the exit doors with their heads not always high. The ingenuity of experience got the best out of the lions, and veterans graciously sent an echoing statement in redefining their perceived image to the football industry.
Italy gave the world a taste of their very own brand of football throughout the tournament, ending in the final as underdogs to Spain. Their talismanic long-haired playmaker was once again believed to shine along with the scintillating Balotelli. Unfortunately for the Italians, luck was not on their side with an awkward reduction to their squad materializing after having used all their substitutions, to add up to the snafu they had already gotten themselves into.
The Spanish made sure Andrea Pirlo’s movements were cancelled with an overcrowded midfield, making space a desire never to be achieved for the Italian. Going home with his head high, the Juventus midfielder seems to have chosen the right tournament to demonstrate leading by example. Missing from the upper tier of household names about a month ago, the midfielder has been stunning fans, managers, colleagues and spectators alike with his dexterous feet and creative instincts.
England was unfortunately the victim of the silent artist’s “coup de grace”, where balls that defied the logic of the average passer, were lifted, tapped, rolled, pushed, flicked, bounced, weighted and kicked, all graciously with perfectly controlled velocity and calculated momentum, dropping flawlessly at a spot usually promoting possession and flowing football.
During the game where England’s defence held an attacking Italy to the penalty shootouts a certain Joseph Barton was one of the fastest to react to the silent artist’s first touch via Twitter, I smiled. I had visions of a certain Italian stumbling to the ground from an impacting Zidane head. Ironically, a sporadic brain can sometimes bring the spice to an already enjoyable feeling.
Similarity to the class of control I was spectating could only spring the name of Zinedine Zidane, even if comparison was out the question. How can Robert Pires be compared to Kaka, or Lampard to Gerrard? Zidane and Pirlo, two geniuses from different worlds, seem to share some similarity in philosophy and at times execution, but not in style.
Man of the match during the goalless encounter, the Italian stepped up to make up for Montolivo’s miss and Cesare Prandelli, the Italian coach declared his calmness at Pirlo stepping up for his spot kick. If that seems old, the Germans recently suffered from the calm yet devastating presence of the 33-year-old Juventus midfielder.
As his nickname in Italy goes, “l’architetto”, which means “the architect”, ensured the strategic connection of the attack from the midfield and anywhere else, proving his effervescent presence in the game from the start to finish while sadly concluding England’s elimination and Joe Hart’s humiliation from a classy, witty, elegant and risky penalty. Like most of his illustrious interactions with the football, he sent it gliding in slow motion right in the middle of the goal, leaving the net flicked and caressed by a beautifully spinning football. Such an act when national matters are at stake, not only proves courage and godlike finesse, but humongous trust in one’s abilities. Control when mastered with such amplitude would not justify classification as skill… but art.