Stuttgart was fun. We had good times. Things were going just swimmingly until Part Two of the Italian Job. Not a conniving heist involving good looking jewel thiefs; not an action-packed remake with sharp camera work and glazed onlookers; not three Mini Coopers burning round the laneways of Venice, ducking in and out of imaginary witches’ hats, spinning like draddles on Chanukah, donuting out around infamous busts of Italian artisans.
I’m talking about the great thievery of the 21st Century: the second fall of man, when darkness befell the verdant fields of Mother Nature’s wonder, when wily smog of Milanese origin encompassed the Garden of Eden and Adam, experiencing mild déjà vu, took the apple from Eve’s sweaty little hand, and tasted the nectar of evil and despair, insouciant free will, sybaritic eternal suffering.
When Lucifer himself, Fabio Grosso, slithered his way into the path of the unsuspecting angelic Lucas Neill, a man of great heart, honesty and piety, and fell over him, metamorphosing into a gazelle struck mid-air by a gamehunter’s dart – the plight of biblical man was tarnished for a second time. Forget the Second Coming.
Forget Messhiachs and other gutteral inflections. Stuttgart will never be the same again. Its rich soil has been infected – dessicated – by the scourge of Azurri guile.
But otherwise, things are peachy. The Socceroos have captured Germany’s zeitgeist. Everyone knows the only thing Italians are good for around here is cheesy pizzas and cheesy one-liners.
And so we skip to Dortmund, where in a few hours Italy will play Germany, and lose, badly, terribly, going down in a fiery blaze (is there any other kind?), in the semi-final of the World Cup 2006, never to return again. Meanwhile, Dortmund will rejoice that their little pocket of Westphalia played host to the greatest poetic justice this side of the Bundesland.