It was a heart-pounding thrilling match, leaving millions glued to the TV, burning the midnight oil, anxious to see who would take the cup.
Crowds thronged outside Wembley while wild mobs tried to force entry without tickets amid burly policemen trying to push them away, a match no one could miss and Indians stayed awake like owls stuck to the television, with pounding hearts.
It is guessed that secretly, most Indians pitched for England because apart from the British Raj, which Indians keep complaining about, there is a strong connection between England and India.
Indian students over generations have traveled to England to study and many finally do end up settling there, mega businessmen and women have made their fortunes in the UK and gone for work or gone as immigrants and have settled there, therefore Indian links to the UK are very strong plus India and England trade relations are powerful. Whenever India is hit by natural disasters or troubles, the UK is extremely concerned, always reporting Indian events on their screens and instantly ready to help with aid.
So then, in the wee cold hours of the Indian morning, it finally happened. Italy beat England in a penalty shootout to win the European soccer championship on Sunday, crashing England’s hopes of winning its first major title since the 1966 World Cup and restoring the reputation of an Italian squad that had been humiliated four years ago when it failed to qualify for the World Cup. Italy unbeaten in last 33 matches won again.
The stadium went crazy with ecstasy on one side flooded with shouts of joy, singing, dancing, and a lot of rumbustious elation.
However, it suddenly became evident to all that there was an eerie silence on one side that no one will ever forget. The silence was hauntingly unnerving because it depicted the spirit of an entire country at that moment, downtrodden and depressed. Visuals from London revealed discouraged people sitting on steps with rubbish, plastic and paper bags strewn around them, amid garbage and litter. This cup cut through England’s heart particularly hard.
The reason why England’s loss shot arrows deep inside their souls was the stress of the pandemic, the pain people were facing for over a year, and perhaps winning the cup was one bright spot in the horizon they were looking forward to and that fell through, disappointingly.
So the gripping match at London’s Wembley Stadium with its monthlong tournament that had been delayed for a year due to the pandemic amid public health concerns ended with two strong emotions on display: An exceedingly ecstatic Italy and a depressed mournful England, and these emotions were heavily amplified because of the effects of the ravages of COVID-19 and the global economic fall. Such times have a devastating effect on emotional and mental health too, especially for those on the losing side.