By Isabella @TheWandCarver
My friend, Liss, asked me if I were going to write about the England – Italy game from last night, aka Euro2020 Final. Funny she should ask because I think sometimes, she knows my mind better than I do. I had not thought seriously about it but here I am now… writing .
Obviously the footy is not magickal. Then again, it may be because I have always been a rugby fan but last night, I was transformed into a new football fan. I see now why it is called the Beautiful Game. Of course, I grew up with footy matches on the telly all in various shades of grey on our black and white box. Did not seem much to see to my eyes. But when England took the cup in 1966, it was a sight to behold on every street and every pub in the nation. England brought it home! But this time, the Beautiful Game turned a bit ugly… and more ugliness ensued.
We have not seen the likes of it since. Last night was 55 years in the making. One goal each and gone into extra time, then penalty shots finalised the outcome – Italy is taking the cup home, not England. My son and I had a good cry but there were other things bothering me about the entire game.
Late into the extra time, a young, Black, England player, Bukayo Saka, 19 years of age, a left-back for Arsenal, was walking down the pitch when an Italian player came up behind him, grabbed him by his shirt collar and chucked him onto the floor. Please explain to me why this was necessary? I do not believe it was under any circumstances. I looked at my son and said, “that was so disgustingly racist!”. To be honest, I do not know what was going on inside the Italian player’s head when he did that. Maybe that is how they joke around in Italy. I did not find it very funny myself and maybe it is the mother in me, but I just wanted to find that Italian and give him a smart slap for what he did to this young man.
All through the game the Italians were getting yellow cards for unsporting behaviour. A few times I could not understand why they were not red carded – they certainly would have been in rugby. My opinion of the Italian players is that they were brutes. But then comes the morning after…
Whatever the Italian squad did last night was in plain sight and were things that might happen during any football match anywhere in the world. Not saying these things were alright but compared to some 1000+ racist tweets sent out after the match mostly concerning the three young black players who had participated in the penalty shots, and all missed – Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho – the Italian player’s on-pitch antics were slightly more forgivable. The tweets were 100% unforgivable.
I am not going in to all what was said. It does not bear repeating. I am with Gary Lineker OBE, former footballer and now broadcaster who said, “Booing and racially abusing the fine young men that play for our country and have given us so much pleasure and joy over the last month is not being @england fan.”
England played with the hearts of lions, with grace and great dignity. They played a hard game as gentlemen. Every last one of them. They are family, no matter what colour their skin. And I could not be prouder.
You would not understand that, would you, those who hate.
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
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