“No, no, that’s enough, I’m begging
you, please. Stop going on and on about your grandfather who worked at the
Piaggio aeronautical plants and…”
“You mean the one with the bombings?” “Ughh…”
“But who ever told you about that?” Filippo gave her a sideways look.
Agata perked up, looking a bit mischievous.
“I had wanted to tell you about my uncle, who once beat the Italians at football.”
“Okay, that’s impressive… and who’s your uncle exactly? Iniesta? Müller?”
“You’re acting nice, eh… Okay, so I’m not going to tell you who he was. I’ll just tell you that in 1994 he beat the team that won the World Cup.” “But Italy lost that final!”
“Well, do you want to hear this story or not?”
The truth is that here in Pontedera, we’ll never forget that day when our team beat Arrigo Sacchi’s national squad. Of course we know well that for them it was a struggle, one of those matches that you take on just to try out new strategies, against a C2 team, I mean, who were we kidding there…A C2 team who that day, however, played defense better than Panucci, Baresi, Costacurta and Maldini. If you were to run into Alfredo Aglietti, who played forward that day, at the cafe’, he’d always tell you something like, “In math, inverting the order of the factors will still give the same result… but math isn’t soccer, and on the Pontedera team we were unable to go to the Rose Bowl to play the finals with Brazil.” But that day… that day, Pontedera was a compact team, organized better than Italy. You know that that year the scarlets were the team that, throughout all of Italy, in all the various championships, managed to stay undefeated the longest! And, in fact, it was successful, and that time that they met the national team, after just 20 minutes—or 21, to be really precise—they were 2-0.
Rossi at the
19th and Aglietti at the 22nd, and then, in the rest of the first half, the
Pontedera crew sabotaged any low-construction attempts by the National team; at
times the Azzurri seemed to be the real amateurs. The pressing of the two
strikers, Aglietti and Cecchini, meant that Albertini’s ideas were out of the
game, and the exits on Stroppa and Donadoni were always nipped in the bud.
In the second part Italy managed to get back in the game; at the 60th Massaro threw it back in and, later, he duped the other players with a strike of the head that sent the ball first toward the crossbar and then toward the line, where it was then quickly captured by Drago. If it had made it in, none of us would remember that game, but instead a few minutes later Sacchi was forced to ask Collina to extend the recovery because that defeat wouldn’t be easy to forget. And, in fact… the day afterward, the Gazzetta had the headline “Pontedera off to the world championships.”
“And here we
are, so many years later, reminiscing on this story…and who cares who won the
“And who was your uncle, Aglietti, the one who made the goal?” “I’m. Not. Going. To. Tell. You.”
“Drago, the goalie?”