The Football Association and their Italian counterparts are on a collision course ahead of Friday’s Nations League clash, after it emerged an updated version of the famous 1996 Pizza Hut commercial was to be aired on UK TV before kick-off at the San Siro.
Boss Gareth Southgate’s appearance in the controversial new ad has got the opposition a little hot under the collar.
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The ex-Villa defender became a media phenomenon after missing a penalty in the semi-final shoot-out at Euro 96, starring in a commercial which also featured Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle who both blundered at Italia 90.
Paddy Power News has been given an exclusive look at the new ad, directed by the mastermind of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony Danny Boyle, which sees the Three Lions gaffer dressed up as one of the Mario Brothers, sitting down to eat with former Manchester City Wildman “Super” Mario Balotelli.
While we’ve been sworn to secrecy over the exact content, we are able to confirm that slices of pineapple, Italian hit TV show Gomorra and the national side’s failure to qualify for the last two World Cups feature heavily, as does Balotelli’s love of indoor pyrotechnics and Silvio Berlusconi’s bunga bunga after dinner parties.
“This is a total disgrace,” an Italian Football Federation official told us.
“It’s clearly sour grapes because of the Euros final last year.”
When we contacted the FA to try to get an English angle on things, we were told in no uncertain terms to “Do one”. However an unnamed source was prepared to come forward to explain that;
“The FA are keen to give Gareth a makeover. We also feel we need to get more in the faces of our opposition.
“The pizza ad is the first in a set of new commercials which will culminate in Qatar, where we’ll be seriously ripping the piss out of England’s Group B opponents.
“Let’s just say, Todd Boehly will feature prominently before the USA game…”
A spokesperson for Channel 4, who are broadcasting England’s game against Italy to a UK audience, was keen to point out that “Nobody’s really interested in the Nations League anyway and we thought it would be a great way to try to boost our Friday night audience.
“We’ll be showing the new ad before, at half-time and after the game and we’re hoping this will even persuade people to watch Gogglebox straight after.”
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