And you won’t often hear me say that.
There will be time to wonder about the mysteries of this World Cup – why were the announcements in English? why did the band keep playing “Go West”? why did the crowd keep singing “Vindaloo”? and what did England think was going to happen if they went on playing like that? Time to lament Zidane’s idiocy (and Rooney’s), time to talk about penalty shootouts, time to wonder why the Germany/Italy match was quite so beautiful. And, not least, time to assemble a fantasy squad consisting entirely of players with Christian names for surnames (Terry, Neville, Gerrard, Henry, it practically writes itself).
For now I just want to leap around like a loon. The result couldn’t have been better, apart from the bit about being decided on penalties. Italy were one of the two or three best teams right through the championship; they played against Germany like wolves on speed, and if the final was a bit of a bundle by comparison they still handled themselves nicely for the full two hours. And, most importantly, Berlusconi got kicked out before the contest began, so all the reflected glory will go to Prodi & co (“Have you noticed how we only win the World Cup under a Labour Government?”)
Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Materazzi, Grosso, Camoranesi, Pirlo, Gattuso, Perrotta (he’s a local lad, you know), Totti, Toni, Iaquinta, De Rossi, Del Piero and (not least) Buffon, vi salutiamo. And I won’t apologise for saying it again – if we think it’s a big deal to reclaim our flag from fascists, spare a thought for Italian fans who can’t say “come on Italy” without it sounding like an endorsement for you-know-who. Time to have done with that.