Two Travesties were averted
Football’s not coming home. Instead it’s decided to visit Rome as two travesties were averted this weekend in the soccer world. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

The footballing world was righted this past weekend as two travesties were averted. Firstly Lionel Messi picked up a major international trophy while England bottled it again on penalties in the European championship final. It feels like the world is slowly righting itself!

The first travesty was averted on Saturday night as Lionel Messi finally won an international trophy. The greatest player of my generation is not short on club honors having won everything imaginable with FC Barcelona from La Liga’s to Champions Leagues, but the little magician had failed to inspire a win with Argentina until now. La Albiceleste beat their fiercest of rivals Brazil Sunday night to capture their first Copa America since 1993.

The debate has always been Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo over the last two decades and for me, it was always Messi. One of the retractions was that Messi had never got it done in a major international tournament. For me when this is brought up I always point to the fact it’s a team game and Messi has had some unbelievably bad Argentina teams. Now that’s no longer a thing.

The second travesty took 120 minutes and penalties to avert on Sunday afternoon as Italy finally edged out England in the European Championship Finals 4-2 on penalties. The fact England even made the final had me nervous. Despite needing them to go further than France to win my bet with Trey (he paid up btw) it wouldn’t have been worth it had they won the entire thing. As an Irishman, that’s the equivalent of being a Clippers fan in LA and having to constantly hear the Lakers fan boost.

Luckily for me the senior players in the England setup have and always will be complete bottlers, sending up an 18-year-old to take a penalty instead. I celebrated the Bukayo Saka penalty for a good hour after he missed, but as I settled down I became less a fan and more a pundit, wondering why the hell was he even taking one? I think Pete Blackburn said it best…

I can enjoy the next week now as we head towards the NHL expansion draft, entry draft, and free agency. Two travesties were averted and I can finally breathe. Forza Italia!