News of the Milan variety is slow and frankly rumor based and not worth much of our time. So it leaves us with little to discuss. So I am going to make a confession, I am NOT excited for the 2012 European Championship!
Italy's 2006 World Cup triumph was the single largest emotional high I ever experienced on the International stage. Having been present in the stadium for the 1994 heartbreak, and watching the failures of 1998 and 2002, it was as though nothing could go right for the Italian National Team. That is until the magic of 2006 where Italy fans united and rejoiced, where I cheered on ADP and Matrix with no qualms and relished in the magic of Rino, Pippo, and Pirlo and the rest of Milan's delegates. That experience came at the perfect time in my life, at 23 years old, I achieved a high that will most likely never be equaled, and I need to come clean as to why, maybe more for myself, but you are coming along for the ride!
First and foremost this new betting scandal that has rocked Italy really frustrates me. Calciopoli was one thing, but this is sort of the straw that breaks the camel's back. What happens now? What happens to Conte or Juve if they are implicated? Is Milan's four point scudetto gap false and possibly a victory for us? Do want a title that way? These are all questions that may or may not be answered in the future for us, but something to think about, and more importantly a bit of a downer when it comes to Italian Football, ie FIGC as a whole. This ill will is not new for me, it has been festering for some time now and in 2010 I was a full fledged supporter for my homeland, USA, instead of my mother land for the first time. Maybe it was Lippi or his call-ups, but part of me was glad the embarrassment came the way it did.
It also doesn't help that the current Coach and setup doesn't appeal to me. Prandelli is a decent Coach, not my style, but one who does in fact play to win, but the current crop of players selected leaves a bit to be desired. Could it be the lack of Rossoneri in the fold? Most likely, but I can't get behind some of the guys who at the end of the day will never have the same connection with me as their contemporaries, be it my failed heroes of 1994 or the living legends of 2006.
At the end of the day I wish Italy all the best, I hope Abate, Nocerino and Montolivo all have an impact, and that a new generation of Azzuri legends may be forged. But to be blunt, I won't watch with bated breath, sitting in nervous excitement. I will watch for the magic of the game, the strength of tactics, but never again for the expectation of the high I felt in 2006. It isn't gone though, that excitement still exists, and to be honest tonight's US Men's National Team match against Brazil has me on the edge of my seat!