America's Cup 2021: Italian media claim bragging rights, after opening races

Italian media are claiming the early bragging rights, after Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli's victory in the second race of the America's Cup opening day.

Despite going into the regatta as overwhelming underdogs, the Italian team bounced back from a 31-second defeat in the first race to take a seven-second win over Emirates Team NZ in the second.

Italian outlets are welcoming the fact that the America's Cup won't be a one-sided affair, as Kiwi fans and commentators predicted.

"The feeling is that Luna Rossa was closer to her rival in her defeat than ETNZ was in Luna Rossa's victory," said FareVela.

"Luna Rossa is as fast as the Kiwis and seems capable of really fighting for the 36th America's Cup."

Sputnik added: "To use a football metaphor, one could say that it is as if Italy in the World Cup final won against Brazil in the Maracana stadium." 

The second-race victory for Luna Rossa erased any Italian fears of a repeat of the 2000 America's Cup, where Team NZ stormed to a stunning 5-0 victory on home waters.

In fact, Luna Rossa had previously only beaten Team NZ once, back in the now infamous San Francisco 2013 campaign - albeit due to a gear failure and retirement from the Kiwi crew.

Further afield, neutral commentators are heralding a close contest, with renowned British commentator Magnus Wheatley saying: "The finest of fine margins was the determinant today and Team New Zealand now know the level they've got to step up to, if they are to defend this Cup.

"Tear up the betting slips, re-calibrate the spreads. We have a match in the Match and it's a game of high precision and execution - just what top level sport should be all about.

"Italy can start dreaming. The Kiwis are beatable and this is the best chance of Italian glory in a lifetime."

Join us at 4:15pm on Friday for live updates of the America's Cup between Team NZ and Luna Rossa