Day: February 7, 2012

European Championship Stories: 1968 – A Rhapsody In Blue

In December of 1970, the Italian playwright Dario Fo released a play entitled “Morte Accidentale Di Un Anarchico” (“The Accidental Death Of An Anarchist”). Based on the aftermath of the 1969 Piazza Fontana Bombing in Milan, which killed seventeen people, it was a play that shone a light upon the subsequent death of Giuseppe Pinelli, an anarchist activist and railway worker who fell from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station under suspicious circumstances after having already been held for longer than Italian law specified was legal without being granted by a judge. Pinelli was later posthumously absolved of any responsibility for the bombing. Just over two years earlier in 1968, Fo had formed Nuova Scena, a theatre collective which, it declared, would be ‘at the service of the revolutionary forces not so as to reform the bourgeois state, but to favour the growth of a real revolutionary process which could bring the working class to power’. Although Fo was a Communist, he had been an outspoken critic of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia which ended the Prague Spring of that year but, as protests of various sorts reached a worldwide head in 1968, the protests of Fo some Western European Communist groups against this invasion fell on deaf ears – one hundred and eight Czechs and Slovaks were killed, and the reforms of First Secretary Alexander Dubček, which sought to...

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The 2012 African Cup Of Nations: The Quarter-Finals

They huffed and puffed. And Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana, Africa’s two best footballing nations according to Fifa’s rankings (so it must be true), are looking good to contest Sunday’s African Cup of Nations final, without looking good in getting there. That said, they form half of what was nearly a semi-final line-up that some (i.e. me) thought ideal – the two favourites against the two most exciting and capable underdogs. Zambia have been in that latter category literally from day one and their expansive first-half display against tournament flops Senegal. Co-hosts Gabon, and their vibrant young side with a vibrant old centre-forward, would have been ideal semi-finalist number four.  Cote D’Ivoire, eventually, proved clinically efficient party-poopers in Equatorial Guinea. But the Gabonese would have been a different story. Mali may also be a different story. But they will have to produce the fluency and energy of their good 41 minutes of the tournament rather than the languidity of their other four-and-a-half games. Bad sides have habitually qualified for the later stages of mediocre tournaments, which this ACN now looks like being – Argentina in Italia ’90 the prime example. Mali have been almost a bad side for almost the whole of this event. But they were good enough for long enough against Botswana and Gabon to be considered better than Maradona’s mess of a team. Eurosport’s Matt Jackson was “not...

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