Letters to the editor: Mansukh Mandaviya trolled for bad English, Euro 2020 and Copa America
Language of disdain
Sir — Soon after being appointed as the Union health minister, Mansukh Mandaviya was trolled online for some of his old tweets in incorrect English. Mandaviya, of course, is not the first political leader to be ridiculed on account of his grasp of the English language; Bengal’s chief minister and Lalu Prasad, too, have often been mocked for the same reason. It is high time that elitists realized that it is one’s work and not one’s fluency in English that reveals one’s competency. Criticism is of value only if it is fair. Mandaviya must first be given a chance to prove his worth.
Sir — The end of Copa America did not bring the international football season to a close; football fans had one last treat to savour in the dramatic Euro 2020 final between Italy and England. England’s goal within two minutes of the first whistle set the tone for the game. However, it was Italy that won the day in the end — Leonardo Bonucci became the oldest player to score in a Euro final. England succumbed to a penalty shootout in a major tournament yet again.
The post-match period also yielded a host of iconic moments. The simultaneous scenes of jubilation and heartbreak presented a compelling scene — while Leonardo Spinazzola celebrated with his teammates on crutches, having earlier injured an Achilles tendon during the quarter-finals, the England team gathered to console the teenager, Bukayo Saka, who failed to score the final penalty. The nearly empty Wembley stadium when Italy lifted the Cup also revealed a nation’s dejection — England’s 55-year wait for a major trophy could not be ended on this night. However, all is not lost for the Three Lions. Most key players in the squad are still young, and with the lessons learnt from this tournament, they will only come back stronger in the upcoming World Cup.
Sir — The Euro 2020 final at Wembley gave us 120 minutes of football at its best, with superb passes and headers, and a thrilling penalty shootout to boot. We were rewarded for forgoing our sleep to watch the match. It was a real cliffhanger before Italy lifted the Cup.
It is not that England played poorly on home soil or that Italy played better; it was sheer luck that smiled on Italy to make them the European champions. England suffered the heartbreak of losing the final after controlling the game for long periods and coming tantalizingly close to a win. They could not eventually outsmart a team with incredible defensive skills.
The second-minute opening goal by Luke Shaw caught Italy unawares and gave England a dream start. This lead lasted until the 67th minute when Leonardo Bonucci, the eventual Man of the Match, levelled the score, giving Italy a fighting chance. In the course of the penalty shootout, even those of us who had no favourites were overwhelmed by high anticipation and tension. England missed three of its penalty kicks and the goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, became Italy’s national hero. It was later learnt that the black players from England who could not convert their penalty kicks faced racist abuse online. As football fans and firm believers in racial equality, we condemn this.
G. David Milton,
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — The month-long mesmerizing football bonanza is over with Argentina kissing the Copa America and Italy lifting the Euro Cup, but moments from these two tournaments will linger in the hearts of football fans around the world. The participating nations, football federations and authorities deserve a big applause as the matches were conducted smoothly and safely, especially at a time when the whole world is in the grip of a pandemic. The tournaments brought joy and excitement, and offered a big relief during these difficult times — both young and old stayed up nights, glued to the screens.
In Kannur, fans even offered puja in temples to help their favourite team win. The support for players like Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappé made it seem like they were boys next door. But that is the magic of football. The heart-warming hug between Messi and Neymar after the final at the Maracana stadium proved that football has the power to promote brotherhood, peace and unity among lovers of the game.