Straight from the dark heart of Italy
This is more like the build up to a major championship you expect from Italy.
A captain crocked by one of his own players in the first training session, before a loose cannon fires off a couple of rounds and is sent to the dressing room to cool off.
The Azzurri have to be favourites for Euro 2008 now.
They aren’t even in the right country; based in Baden in the east of Austria when their group games are in Switzerland - in Berne and Zurich - leaving the party having to cover around 3,000 miles by the time they face France in the final group game.
However, when (not if) they get through the group phase, their Hotel Schloss Weikersdorf base is a mere 20 miles from Vienna and final glory.
So onwards and upwards and this without Fabio Cannavaro – the best player at the 2006 World Cup – and prime slice of Italian defensive beef.
Coach Roberto Donadoni was only moments into a light work-out on the first day when an innocuous challenge from Giorgio Chiellini left the captain writhing on the turf; the ligaments in his left ankle torn.
Captain courageous lies lame after feeling Chiellini's wrath
Brave faces all around, apart from Chiellini who burst into tears as Cannavaro was wheeled away.
The dream of adding a European Championship crown to his World Cup triumph may have gone but the Real Madrid man’s spirit seemed undiminished and he maintained he would remain with the ragazzi in the role of part-priest, part-cheerleader.
Maybe he should become a full-time social worker for Antonio Cassano who as expected didn’t take long before losing the plot.
Fearing that Chiellini was out to end his tournament too, the Bari bawler turned the air blue with obscenities after a fair but hefty challenge from the Juve man during the next training session.
Cassano then attempted to reduce Italy’s defensive options further by lunging at an innocent Andrea Barzagli.
Cassano: Has never been one to count to 10 before acting
The “discussion” on the merits of trying to break a team-mate’s leg continued into the dressing room where clam was finally restored by an irate Donadoni.
Italy should have seen this coming after all.
An Austrian fortune teller had already foreseen the loss of one their major stars – making the claim on May 29 no less.
According to Rosalinde Haller, France will now win the tournament with the Azzurri making the quarter-finals or maybe even the semis although the crystal ball was a bit steamed up so she couldn’t say which.
Utter nonsense, as everyone knows Italy is the true home of fortune-telling, so wizard Rossi gazes into the future and comes up with 2-1 to the Azzurri against Holland on Monday.
Latest Italian Football News
Berlusconi: Allegri to stay on as Milan coach
Japan coach singles out Pirlo for special attention
Alcantara hat-trick leads Spain to Euro Under-21 crown
Brazil beat Japan but protests spoil opening day
Pirlo picks perfect moment for 100th Italy cap
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010