Conte(nt) with Antonio’s Azzurri

Et puis il y avait huit.

We have our quarter finalists. Ingurland are not amongst them. Iceland are. And rightly so. You know all the stats about the comparative size of population, the footballing history and the great stories. You know how pants one team was and how brilliant another were. TLF did celebrate when we got Iceland in the group of 16. Unlike some members of the Ingutland coaching staff not because TLF thought it would be easier than Portugal but because TLF cannot think of a team I’d rather watch my team lose to. And for that reason I didn’t repeat the sulking or tears of previous insipid exits. I was cross at the paucity of the performance but I wasn’t entirely surprised. I did shake my head at those fans complaining the fortune that they had “paid to watch this lot.” Well guess what a) no one made you b) you should know better by now and c) I bet you had a good time before and eventually after.

Anyway where was I before Ingurland’s successful attempt to chier dans la colle? Ah yes, the good stuff from Monday which for TLF was Antonio Conte. Sorry I mean Italy v Spain. To start with it was on the Beeb and they had, perhaps as a none too subtle reminder of what we might have kissed au revoir to, a continental panel – Henry, Vialli and Kompany (sounds like a potential chat show). Follically challenged maybe but magnifique in every other respect – urbane, stylish and highly entertaining (oh and all from nations that had qualified for the quarter finals…little did Sir Gary of Lineker know that he wouldn’t be able to tick that box by the end of the evening).

The Italian coach and TLF’s coach of the tournament wouldn’t have been out of place in that little group although his stylish credentials were put at serious risk during the opening minutes of the game against Spain as a spectacular cloudburst forced him to don (see what I did there) a team baseball cap and cagoule. Not his finest sartorial hour.

BTW I should make clear that qualification for TLF’s CoT (coach of the tournament) isn’t of course just down to footballing matters. If it was then clearly Iceland’s Lars Lagerback (the beers are on him!) would be le premier choix. There are other crucial features to consider such as cut of suit, successfully completed moody smouldering looks, rollickings from the ref, passionate goal celebrations (the manic mounting of the dugout roof for Italy’s second being a prime example) and nice eyes. Shallow? Moi? Pfffft.

Nothing about Italy’s performance against Spain was shallow; yes they needed a couple of quality saves from the old master Buffon but this was a team set up to make best use of its strengths, to get some revenge for that 4-0 spanking by Spain in the final of this tournament four years ago and to confirm what the last World Cup hinted at, that for now at least Spain no longer reign. A deep full-bodied Montepulciano waving a cheer ‘Ciao’ at a past its best Rioja.

A biased TLF might dit that an under-rated side playing in blue, proving to be more than the sum of their parts, looking like a team who want to win for each other, having a good 2016 and managed by a slightly manic Italian were peut-etre reminiscent of a certain tem from the East Miglands. But TLF didn’t need to because Vialli got there first.

Ce qu’un homme intelligent!

Rein de results
Rein de fixtures
Ca alors. Ce n’est pas plus drôle

Manger ou Boire?
The veggies have been neglected….More than just a film

Sing-along-a-quarter-finalist national anthem – Italy
Fratelli d’Italia,
L’Italia s’è desta;
Dell’elmo di Scipio
S’è cinta la testa.
Dov’è la Vittoria?
Le porga la chioma;
Ché schiava di Roma
Iddio la creò.

Stringiamci a coorte!
Siam pronti alla morte;
Italia chiamò.

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