Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Italy's Role In Sparking Ford And La Roja

I watched Ford v. Ferrari the other day and ranter enjoyed it. Two iconic automobile manufactures in one movie? Sign me up.

Of course, the movie took some liberty with the facts but from what I gather nothing galling or inappropriate. Although I could have done with the 'greasy wop' bit. Not sure why they thought this was good dramatic effect in this day and age of sanitized political correctness. Apparently you can still call Italians 'wops' on film as a non-protected community not part of the victim class mafia I suppose.

They also made sure to make the Italian driver look swarthy and menacing. Ah Hollywood. When they want to play up the usual stereotypes they play it up. It seems so cliched and stale.

I couldn't care less but just making a point that in today's climate of hyper-outrage I found it interesting is all.

I digress.

The other part I observed was Lee Iacocca's character, despite being of Italian heritage, couldn't speak Italian. I would have thought, as a 1st generation Italian, he could at least speak on some rudimentary level with Enzo Ferrari to establish a common bond. I know. I'm looking way into this more than I should.

Tell you what though. I think the film went out of its way to pay homage to Ken Miles and if indeed he was treated that way by Ford, he deserves it. A true, free spirit and race car purist and genius.

The move did a great job stirring anger in me regarding his mistreatment.

Ford should damn well kiss his feet and put up a statue of the guy if they haven't already.

But all this is not the point of this post.

The point is how Ferrari was the lightning rod that sparked Ford's racing car legacy.

It took the Italians and their single-mindedness and win at all cost mentality - which really is why Ferrari is the greatest and most mystical of all race car brands - to galvanize the Americans at Ford.

Greatness spawns greatness. Ford was wise to look at how Ferrari did things in order to learn.

The rest is history.

The same patten I observed in soccer at Euro 2008 during a quarter-final match between Italy-Spain. Up until that point Spanish soccer was a series of spectacular failures where as Italian soccer sat comfortably next to Brazil and Germany as a mighty titan in the sport. Head to head, Spain hadn't beaten Italy for over 80 years and it's something that clearly caused great angst, if not anger, among Spanish fans and media.

Those demons were finally exercised after Spain narrowly beat Italy on penalties after a 0-0 draw. How close to losing was Spain? I still recall Camoranesi missing from close range to put Italy up 1-0.

After the victory, the was a Spanish journalist who basically unleashed on Italy with a rather unsporting rant. So much for winning with grace. That's how deep the pent-up frustration ran. Reminds me of Boston Bruins fans who had to endure utter dominance by the Montreal Canadiens from 1943 to 1989.

In any event, that win sparked a golden age of Spanish soccer who then went on to win the 2010 World Cup beating perennial bridesmaids Holland 1-0 and then achieving a back to back triumph at the 2012 Euros crushing (a shorthanded) Italy 4-0 in the final.

Italy then managed to beat Spain at the 2016 Euro in the quarters only to finish second in the 2018 World Cup qualifying group to Spain who again smothered Italy 3-0 in a crucial match for the group. A match where manager Ventura mind-bogglingly set Italy up with a formation the players weren't comfortable with.

In short, Italy unleashed La Roja as they overran international soccer for 10 years or so.

So in defeat Italians could take solace that they were the root of two great organizations and countries  catapulting themselves much deserved success.

Staying on top, of course, is another matter.

Now they know what it's like to perform when everyone guns for you.

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