The game in Scopone by plane, on the roof of the world

Pertini, Bearzot, Zoff, Causio: The history of Italy in a photo.

Four men they fight on the beech table for the last card. Two pipes. Unique collectibles. Fine tobacco burns. The clouds of their smoke are fighting. The eyes of the younger players, one with Woodstock hair, the other impeccably styled, seek to obliterate the more mature opponents. Sviolinata of nerves. It looks like a village pub, instead it is the Mediterranean sky. A scene from My friends, maybe. It sounds like the talk of a humble life, instead it’s Alitalia’s DC-9, a state plane. In the distance Paradise by Phoebe Cates mixed with the Friulian, Genoese and Salento dialects.


Italy landed in the heart of Galicia in Vigo. The three matches in the first round are played at Estadio Balaídos. The media pressure is unbearable: the scandal Totonero has caused players to lose faith, seen as mercenaries selling games. Dino is the captain called to act as lightning conductor. Friulian of few and discreet words. One of those who, when he speaks, remembers him forever. Statuario, elegant in goal, a career with enviable laurels in Trapattoni’s Juventus. There is one small detail: he is forty years old.

The three matches in the first phase of the Azzurri are painful: 0-0 with Poland, 1-1 with Peru, 1-1 with Cameroon. That the captain loses his voice in the field. He punches his fist in the locker room.

Italy deserves to go out, but is saved for the second stage with only three points. In the next round, the Azzurri will face Maradona’s Argentina and Brazil by the sparkling trio of Zico-Falcao-Sócrates. Goodbye dreams of glory. But Dino has an idea. Together with the technical guide and the Association, he establishes the first press blackout in the history of football. Barcelona is close. Estadio Sarriá ready to cook. The captain believes in the feat never achieved before: beating Argentines and Brazilians in a World Cup. From his finally brings an unstoppable joy: Italy defeats Maradona 2-1! Now we’re starting to get serious, but in the locker room worries are hovering over the coach.


In the world of football, they know him as Vecio. His pipe gives him bitter cravings, those from the bitter existence of his microscopic village of Friuli. Glimpses of popular wisdom lent to the bench. As a 55-year-old, more than a coach, he is a father with a stick and a carrot to football players. He wants to convey a sober style, Nicomachian ethics, respect for people. That Totonero it takes his sleep. A dilemma tears him apart just before the World Cup. One of the his guys were disqualified.

His career is shattered, he calls himself Paolo Rossi.

The striker fell into the net of two seemingly ordinary figures, but in the dark, puppet masters of football bet: the greengrocer Massimo Cruciani and the restaurateur Alvaro Trinca, owner of La Lampara, the dark place where the players sold the games and organized themselves. teammates. Rossi has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonmentand from the judiciary for a deal in Avellino-Perugia, which resulted in a very rich 2-2 for the players at sunset in December 1979.

To give the man a place on everyone’s lips, Enzo had to leave the championship’s top scorer, the relentless Roberto Pruzzo, at home. He strengthens himself: he carries it. Rossi from the first phase is not exciting, far from it. Enzo does not give up. As a loving father speaks to him and touches his soul. He believes in him: he is the only one. It is the flare that is needed in Rossi’s winter. Paolo feels regenerated. He promises him not to give up. Italy-Brazil Day arrives: Estadio Sarriá awaits a performance worthy of Aeschylus and Sophocles. In an afternoon of violent gusts of wind, under the eyes of billions of people connected from every corner of the globe, it is forged the legend of Pablito. From the coaching bench, we are witnessing a rare event: a hat trick of his greatest risk to one of the strongest Brazil ever. Paolo, fragile and meticulous, is the titan at 3-2.

And déjà vu. Poland again, this time in the semifinals. The ability to pulverize the dull beginning, giving one last touch of blue to the critique. Catalonia has got a new foreign king: Rossi beats the Poles twice. Now is that World Cup top scorer with five markings and looks proudly at the final against Germany, in the capital, in Madrid, at the home of the king on paper Juan Carlos I.


The President of the Italian Republic is in the middle of the houses destroyed by the Irpinia earthquake. Hear the demands of starving families. The state fatally delays aid. As an 86-year-old, his collaborators advised him not to go for the potentially harmful scenario for his health. But he is not there: in the midst of men, women, and children who have lost everything, he knows how to give an entire country supportive embrace. It does not stop. He decides to go to Madrid to demonstrate proximity to the much-maligned national team. The memory in Italy lasts as long as a cigarette journey: now everyone (or almost) loves that hold.

Sandro is among the elegant boulevards of the Spanish capital. He sees men, women and boys wearing the blue shirt. The Latin American people have lined up with Bearzot’s men and are ready to support them in the final act. While the armored car leads him to the players, he recites verses by Federico García Lorca, My living death, love of the bowels. The chairman meets the entire national team group, including the staff and the workers, just before the thumping finale against the usual enemies, the Germans. He wants to motivate every single element of the expedition, to transfer visceral love to the homeland, unique, abused, to be defended.

He wants to push everyone towards heroism possible. He tells of his adventures as a partisan during World War II.

Escape to France by motorboat with Filippo Turati and Italo Oxilia to escape the fascist fire. The organization of the battle group New freedom, ready to face black shirts and Nazis. The secret return to Italy, the arrest, the suffocating detention in the Turi prison with Antonio Gramsci. The astonishing escape, the no holds barred battles against the Germans. Just the ones to face at the Bernabeu. Italy’s liberation on April 25, 1945 and his roaring voice over the radio to proclaim the general strike.


Glowing eyes revealed during the president’s recollections. Acrobatic wing of Lecce dreaming of low cost. Too bad he is 32 years old and is considered a good old man just to cement the group. Thanks to its rent it comes the nickname The Baron. For him, the World Cup is a matter of honor, of being chased, held and held close to his chest.

Changing room. Italy-Germany. Finals in the twelfth edition of the World Cup. While dressing, they proud Franco thinks back to his childhood. A small image invaded by penetrating, very clear light, which is reflected on the Lecce stone, in the hours of exertion with his father Oronzo like a smoker of gas cylinders. Drive a monkey car with skill, avoiding obstacles as defenders on the green mantle. He climbs up the orders with superhuman efforts on the palaces of the sixteenth century in his city. But he just wants to play football. The beginning of its exemplary history for the emigrants from south to north is in the youth teams of Lecce. Juventus have earned Trapattoni’s victory cycle. After thirty, Boniperti makes fun of him. Nobody wants him, only Udinese, a provincial team. But during a training session in the Carnic Alps, a distinguished gentleman with an unmistakable accent awaits him as he leaves the course.

It is Enzo who whispers a few words to him, able to revive him: “Behave well I’ll bring you anca to the world“.

After the first half with white nets and a penalty kick that Cabrini missed, Franco’s gaze is melancholy. He wants to enter the field, make his contribution. The second half did not return to the men’s court: they were lions dressed in heaven. Rossi, Tardelli, Altobelli! 3-0! Sandro raises his arms from the stands. Enzo is a portrait of unstoppable happiness on the bench. Germany shortens the distance to Breitner. We have to break the rhythm. An expert figure is needed to manage the last minutes. Enzo addresses Franco: “Vecio, warm up!. The wing is unbelieving. The moment you have dreamed of all your life has come. Just a few minutes. They are enough to make sense of an entire existence. Franco takes Altobelli’s place. In Lecce, in front of a color TV, his father Oronzo is enjoying the moment. A tear falls on his face and bathes the wrinkles enormously.

Race director Arnaldo Coelho whistles three times. World Champions! World Champions! World Champions! Nando Martellini shouts as he crosses the RAI networks every inch of Italy. In Irpinia, in the middle of a road of broken pieces and lost hope, dozens of families are intoxicated by the moment in front of an old interim television. All ends. Back on the Alitalia DC-9 while Causio performs ballad donkey, the surprising move to win it. A snapshot stops the heartbeat of the four main characters: a picture of forty years that will never end.

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