HOME OR ROME: The Real Finals and the Learning Outcomes

As of 1800 Hours GMT+1 today July 11, 2021;  it was difficult to predict to a large extent the outcomes of the final match. There were almost as many as the same number of people routing for both teams separately but the media was not helping much. Both social and traditional media were agog with greater hope-raising expectations, particularly for the English supporters.

There were two giants of European football who finally, were both beginning to wake from their slumber. Italy was not arriving the final match for the first time this year, having made quite a number of such appearances in tournaments. Under Roberto Mancini, they came across as though repented, showing the whole world how complete they were and most importantly, how much they wanted to win.

It was a different story for the English team. Generally known to be talented, tenacious and perhaps without a care in the world what others may think about them. They have always displayed depth, strong identity and a clear understanding of what it takes to win but they weren’t always winning nevertheless.

On this occasion, however,  it seemed to me that Italy’s game against Spain was a  reason enough for anyone to believe that the three lions have enough to unlock Azzurri, who relied too much on the counter in the previous game. It was beginning to look like England may win due to their many weapons to trash Italy and thankfully they had the  Wembley advantage. So much so that even some Italians thought the leather was going home but it was uncertain where exactly was home to a round football made of leather. Notwithstanding, there is a maxim that wherever the football rolls, there the trophy may follow.

In simple terms, the finals made history as a major tournament was being played in England. Soccer may not have been invented there, but it was codified and exported to much of the world from there in the 19th century. Soccer has become more synonymous with the UK (both England and Scotland) than elsewhere in the world.

Therefore, like many other people I was hoping so highly for England, the land that has given me great opportunities.  It felt like the trophy truly belonged to England this time even as Prince Williams issued the command ”Bring it home” and many ( I mean many) of us looked forward to it.

Alas! Finally and last last (as we say in Nigeria), the leather went straight to its true home. Although many gestured rather comically that if the Pope was stronger than the Queen on this occasion, it must be because she was probably mourning the death of her husband and he also had just recovered from a hospital admission but I do not agree with whatever their jocular insinuations.

In my own opinion and final analysis; “true sportsmanship should be more about the Spirit than about Winning” and in this case, all the teams that participated and made concerted efforts had the right spirit as I would prefer to put it. It should not matter much (if at all) which of the teams won the finals because eventually, each one of them deserved to win.

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