It’s Italy’s Year Zero
One by one, they slipped away, in those wakeful hours that followed Italian soccers darkest day. Gianluigi Buffon, denied his dream of a sixth World Cup, led the way, confirming with tears in his eyes that he would not play for his country again. Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli soon followed.
Italy lost two World Cups last Monday night: first their chance of appearing in the 2018 edition, and then the three players who represented the final links to 2006, the last men standing from the generation that conquered the world.
As Italy tried, on Tuesday, to digest the idea that they would not be present at a World Cup for the first time in 60 years, the country embarked on that journey that comes as an inevitable consequence of a sporting failure that has the air of a national humiliation.
First, they sought people to blame, soon settling on two candidates: Gian Piero Ventura, the coach, and Carlo Tavecchio, president of the FIGC, the countrys soccer federation. Tavecchio fired Ventura but ignored growing calls that he resign.
Then, as they absorbed the shock and its fury abated, Italy began to seek explanations. There is an instinct in these …read more