Saturday Dec 05, 2020  
  22/06/2011: June 21st 1987, Fiorini Day.
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The football world today appears to travel, unimpeded, on another planet.

Today everything works according to the laws of the 'God of Money'.
The players, for example, are now used to change of team, whenever their manager feels that there's more money to be earned elsewhere.

In short, the romance is gone of great players, giving the fans passion, hope, pride and faith over the shirt, 'la maglia' is they call it.

But one should remember that sometimes a player stands up, and embodies those values.
Playing for his shirt, with passion on the pitch, and pride after a battle won or lost.

We should remember one such player, his name was Giuliano Fiorini.

On the 21st of June 1987, Lazio played Vicenza, suffering in a long long Serie B season.
Lazio has been penalized in the summer of '86, for a match-fixing scandal by some players.
Lazio would start the Serie B with minus 9 points, the equivalent of minus 13 points today.
Coach Fascetti had the huge task to get a team ready to battle week in week out, to avoid the drop into the Serie C.
After 8 games the minus 9 was erased from the tables and Lazio could start the hunt into mid-table safety.
After the winterbreak, Lazio was flying into that safe position, forgetting all the worries of the minus 9 penalty.
But a poor run of results in the last 10 games, Lazio dropped from mid-table into the bottom four, enough to get the drop into Serie C.

But in the very last game, Lazio had their still a chance to avoid this purgatory.

On that 21st of June 1987, Lazio played Vicenza, also in the bottom four.
Lazio had one mission, and that was a win. A draw was not enough, to jump over Vicenza in the table.

That game would become the most crucial ever in the history of S.S. Lazio.
The Stadio Olimpico was crammed in every corner, 80.000 fans in the stands, still a record for a game in the Serie B.

As the game started, the players couldn't cope the tension on and off the pitch. Lazio's future was in their hands, a matter of life and death.

At the end of the first half it was still 0-0, Vicenza was safe, Lazio not.
After the break Vicenza went down to 10 men, but their wall was unbreakable for the Lazio strikers.
Vicenza had even the better chances, after some perfect counterattacks.
But Lazio kept faith and hope for that one goal that they needed.

But as the games entered the final 10 minutes, the players were struggling to play, as they were exhausted by the scorching sun and summer heat that Sunday.

But with 7 minutes to go, Podavini tries something between a shot and a cross, Fiorini intercepts the ball inside the box, a turn, a stretch of his right leg and then the momentum, a leap of faith as Fiorini's flicks the ball in the goal.

The Olimpico burts into a giant scream, 80.000 fans condensed into every emotion possible, joy... anger... revenge... faith.

Even a man like Fiorini went to celebrate his goal under his Curva Nord, crying like a newborn child, saving the history of S.S. Lazio.

The story of Giuliano Fiorini can be summed up with what happend that day. Because his goal was a sign of attachment to his team, a sign of loyalty, dedication, sacrifice, bravery, courage and desire to win.

That 21st of June 1987 will always be remembered, told from father to son, because that date is linked to our history, still 111 years long.

Lazio eventually had to play 2 extra play-down games, in Napoli, against Taranto and Campobasso, to regain the Serie B status. One year later Lazio would gain promotion the to Serie A, after finishing third.

Giuliano Fiorini left us on an early August day in 2005.
His dedication, his sacrifice, his bravery and courage couldn't beat the lung cancer he was suffering from.

June 21st 1987 will always be Fiorini Day !

(Claudio Paz)
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