When the Italian team returned to Italy from S. Africa, they were all dressed in black.
Via The Catholic Spirit and Catholic News Service this about the increasingly strange L”Osservatore Romano on Italy’s World Cup disaster.
Vatican newspaper weighs in on Italy’s World Cup humiliation
By Sarah Delaney – Catholic News Service
Monday, 28 June 2010
If today’s kids would just turn off their electronic games and kick the ball around in the parish playground, Italian soccer might have a future.
That was the suggestion in a commentary June 26 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, in the wake of the humiliating first-round elimination of the Italian national soccer team in the World Cup in South Africa.
The commentary, under the headline "Let’s throw out the PlayStation and get back to the parish playground," said Italy’s national squad — defending world champions — lacked preparation, strategy and especially a deep roster of great players. [Or could it be that the top level Italian teams recruit so many non-Italians that there aren't enough Italians with premiere league experience to hold their own in the World Cup?]
The solution in the past, it said, has been to turn attention to the younger generations playing in the "oratorio," the parish playground where countless Italian professionals have developed their soccer legs.
The local parish playground is a familiar place in the hearts and minds of many Italians. Older Italian films often depict a strict but goodhearted priest playing ball with his young wards, cassock flying as he runs in the church courtyard.
"But today’s kids have PlayStation, they don’t go to the ‘oratorio’ to play soccer anymore," the commentary said. "How are they going to become players, and some, maybe, even champions?"
Turning off electronic games would be a start, it said. More training and less emphasis on foreign players in order to build on the local talent is also necessary, it added.