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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Italians passionate? Si! Especially when it comes to football

By Terry Carter*
Something that strikes us about Italians is their love of football**. In Amantea in Calabria a few weeks ago the local’s favourite team had just won a match so we were stuck in our car for a while in the middle of the celebratory procession through town. We were the only ones not tooting our horn or hanging out of the car cheering! Here in Milan in our apartment on the Navigli last week we knew Euro 2008 was on when we heard screaming and cheering from the local bars down on the street below. We turned the TV on to see Italy playing the Netherlands. Every time Italy had a shot at a goal (and missed) the collective groans echoed through the streets. After their loss, the locals quietly streamed out of the bars, jumped on their biciclettas and Vespas and headed home. On Fridays the streets are generally filled with locals heading for aperitivo hour at the local outdoor bars. But last Friday the streets were empty. We were thinking it was probably the threatening weather or Friday the 13th keeping locals at home. But then loud cheer echoed through the streets. Euro 2008. We turned on the TV to see Italy playing Romania. Even with the sound turned down we could tell how the game was going by the noise emanating from the bars. Very little noise means Italy is not doing well. Groans mean they’ve had a shot at goal and missed. Wild cheering indicates a goal from Italy, while silence means the other side has scored. As I write this, the game between Italy and France has not long started. The mood of the whole neighbourhood will change depending on what happens in the next hour and half. Italians. Passionate? No denying it. Even in the streets of ‘reserved’ Milan. Gotta go - the football's on.

* Terry is my husband, co-author and occasional co-blogger

** generally called soccer in countries where it’s not the main form of football

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