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Italy turn to new breed of Oriundi

Pablo Osvaldo, left, with Cesare Prandelli

Italy laboured to a 3-1 win over Armenia on Friday, moving a step closer to the World Cup.  Gianluigi Buffon will rightly take the plaudits for keeping Italy in the game at 1-1, but it was finally settled by a player born in Buenos Aires – Pablo Osvaldo, the Roma striker who moved to the country with Atalanta in 2006. 

After playing for the Italian under-21s, it was with Espanyol where Osvaldo hit the kind of numbers required to get Azzurri manager Cesare Prandelli’s attention. He qualified for the country through an Anconese great-grandfather and has spent five seasons on Italian soil, hypothetically satisfying any residency requirement.

The naional side’s openness to this new breed of Oriundi is as much as reflection of a changing society in Europe, a phenomenon that France’s team has been witness to.  Mind you, Italy’s selection of South Americans is a practice dating to Vittorio Pozzo’s side of the 1930s; but the Italian public wasn’t always so open to foreign players, responding to the national side’s World Cup failures in extreme measures – whether by imposing the three-foreigners of the 80s or, in Perugia’s case, sacking Ahn Jung-Hwan for scoring the goal to eliminate them in 2002.  As recently as the 2006 World Cup win, the idea of a black or minority player starting for Italy seemed a long time away, mostly because there was no reason to think that there wouldn’t be enough quality in front of them.

Mario Balotelli, a star at Euro 2012, and Stephan El Shaarawy, who made his competitive debut against Armenia, aren’t Oriundi in the traditional sense, but they’ve benefitted from the same softening of ideas.  The traditionalists, those who chanted to Balotelli that “there is no such thing as a black Italian”, seek to mire Italy in the same kind of backwards thinking that led to Marcello Lippi’s re-appointment as national team coach in 2008.  These same fans would’ve called up a more “Italian” player than Balotelli or his replacement in Armenia, Pablo Osvaldo.

At Euro 2012, Balotelli and Thiago Motta, a Brazilian cast-off who qualifies for Italy much like Osvaldo, helped Italy to the final before succumbing to Spain.  Another Italo-Argentino, Fiorentina defender Facundo Roncaglia, is on the Prandelli’s radar, while American-born Guiseppe Rossi has been in the coach’s plans but racked by injuries as of late.  Part of Prandelli’s post-2010 approach, eliminating the hubris that affected Italy in the wake of the 2006 World Cup win, has seen him admit that a player not on Argentina’s radar can do a job for Italy.  Osvaldo had once reacted to an Argentina snub by saying he hoped to make them regret it – scoring the goals that push the new-look Azzurri past his home country is just the way to do it.

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About canadianfootball

Student of the game. @scott_ferguson

5 responses to “Italy turn to new breed of Oriundi”

  1. Jackson Five Alive says :

    This is stupid and misleading. Osvaldo was in Rome for a year, where he “caught” Prandelli’s attention, but he had already featured on the U21 for years and Cesare already knew of him then.

    Second, Balotelli and El Shar are born in Italy. I don’t see you English fan supporters talking about Rio or other black colored English players as “oriundi” or foreigners. Why have that sort of racist slant on Italian born players of different color?

    Lastly, De Rossi’s goal was the 2nd and decisive goal vs Armenia. Osvaldo was icing on the cake. But don’t let those facts retract from the point you were trying to make, and that is that Italy needs foreigners in the squad to be competitive.

    Giuseppe Rossi was trained by his Italian father, back in Italy at age of 12, and the obvious is that he comes from Italian “stock”.

    Hargreaves? Never been in England, but it was OK to have him as an oriundi.

    You hypocrites are so very funny. The jealousy oozing out of your pores is palpable through the computer screen.

    GDay 😉

  2. canadianfootball says :

    Well Jackson, I’m not English (the title of the blog might clue you in), but when England first started regularly using black players it generated this kind of discussion. 20 years later, Italy is going through the same kind of integration, and maybe it can become the non-issue we agree it is when the racist chanting stops.

    You’ll note that I said Balo and Shar weren’t Oriundi, but that the hardline racist fans would group both them and the actual foreigners into a “non-Italian” group. Thankfully, those attitudes are dying, and were at least partially responsible for the Italian arrogance that led to their World Cup 2010 disaster by sticking to tradition so rigidly.

    Rossi is certainly more Italian than Hargreaves was English, and I don’t have a problem with either (although Canada could have certainly used him). I’m amazed you think these observations somehow come from jealousy or hypocrisy, given that I don’t have any reason to be. Italy is a fantastic country, if a bit stuck in its ways when it comes to integration. Thankfully things are getting better on that front, with Balotelli and others playing a starring role.

  3. Robby Argie says :

    England sucks and play a defensive style that is embarrassing these days 😉

  4. Not Craig Forest says :

    If this blog is about “Canadian” football, why are you writing about Italy? Maybe Canada should turn to a breed of foreigners to help save them from the absolute horror that is the Canadian national team these days? What do you think?

  5. Авиабилеты челябинск-лондон says :

    I’m really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility problems? A small number of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?

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