ESPN, the American sports channel, has produced a set of commercials for Euro 2008 featuring various participating countries' national teams, in what can only be described as brutally stereotypical terms. They're quite nice though, in a reductive and misleading way.
The Portuguese one, for instance, focuses on fancy dan stepover merchants with no discernible end product, and offers the tagline "Get ready to dance with the Portuguese". The German one is all clean precision passing, neat goals, and the slogan "Engineered to win". The Greek offering tactfully draws a veil over the actual football, which is probably for the best, and just shows lots of singing and celebrating fans. As for Spain, the clip highlights the weird mismatch between potential and reality, and doesn't quite seem to know where it's headed, which is as good a metaphor as any.
But it is of course the hilarious Italian one which I would like to bring to your attention.
It's all about gesturing, shrugging, hand-waving, finger-pointing, head-shaking, and the classic "who me?" look. Nesta illustrates immaculately the "macché" gesture, and you can quite clearly lip-read Angelo di Livio's "chi? io? IO??" disbelief. And then, apparently, it's all about a patronising consolatory pat on the head. I am especially loving Marco Delvecchio's work. Funnily enough, in a clip about petulance, one F. Totti features quite frequently. But hell, even everybody's favourite Zola is in there.
Italy-haters, of whom there are many, will find in this clip everything they love to hate about the Azzurri. I confess it makes me laugh and think: sod the lot of you. Am starting to get excited about Euro2008 now. Bring it on!