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Where were you when Italy won the 2006 World Cup? | Living in Italy

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Where were you when Italy won the 2006 World Cup?

Dec 25th, 2008 | By | Category: Property of the Month

To me, this event ranks highly with some of the all-time greats of timeline landmarks, such as, the Moon Landings, the tearing down of the Berlin wall and even that sorry day that Elvis Presley died. I for one, will always remember exactly where I was and how I felt at the time.

I must admit to not being a follower of football (being brought up in North Wales has left me permanently ‘Pro Rugby’), so i’ll avoid any reference to individual player skills or technical ‘plays’ by the teams. But I feel the need to highlight the manner of both the Italian Team and it’s many passionate followers.

We watched the Italy v Germany match in a small bar in Spina (Marsciano (PG)), having only very limited Italian language skills we always feel a little awkward when entering a room full of vibrant (and very vocal) Italian supporters, all cheering their team on. But instantly, in Spina, we were welcomed with cheerful ‘buona sera’s’ and even had chairs brought and repositioned for us. They knew we weren’t Italian, the UK plates on our car is an obvious ‘giveaway’! So I can only imagine that this friendliness is offered to all.

The match played on …… and even I, with my limited football knowledge, was soon drawn into passing loud comment on the performance of both teams. This is most unlike me, even whilst watching England win the Rugby World Cup! But being surrounded by the ‘running commentary’ and highly charged discussions of 40 to 50 Italians tends to raise the blood a little, to the point were I was cheering and groaning along with them. All with the associated flurry of hand waving of course!

The two goals coming in quick succession was too much for everyone to continue to control their emotions. The bar ‘exploded’, the owner jumped up on the counter throwing his arms up in victory …………. unfortunately he misjudged the height and his arms drove clear through the roof tiles into the ventilation space above. The mixture of compressed tiles and roof insulation filled the room like a ‘ticker tape’ parade! All adding to the unbelievable atmosphere that was present.

When things calmed down, the owners came to us and claimed that we have brought them ‘luck’ and that we MUST attend the bar again for the final. Something that we had pretty much planned on doing anyway!

Then, the night of the Final, we arrived to see that the modest TV in the bar had been replaced with an ‘eight foot’ screen and projector placed outside the bar. Chairs had been set up reaching half way across the road, after all, who would be driving whilst the Azzurri are playing?! Flags were flying and children were ‘face painted’ in the National Colours a true ‘family event’ and a magnificent sight. Back in Britain, these occasions are often ‘marred’ by people taking the ‘social drinking’ a bit too far, here in Italy the only ‘over indulgence’ you could accuse anyone of is possibly Gelato!

Now, it has to be said that i’m really no fan of the French (I don’t really have any particular reason except the usual english / french disputes that have gone on forever). But the penalty awarded to France early in the game was a little unfair. An opinion echoed by ALL the less biased(?) spectators around me! After the goal (from the now ‘infamous’ Zidane!), the crowd became a little anxious about the possibility of losing in the cruellest of ways.

This was not to be, and we all found our belief and our voices restored after the excellent goal from Marco Materazzi. A few more ‘near misses’ and Italy’s confidence of victory was restored. Only when the time ran out and it was all down to penalties did the tension return.

Despite the French claim that Italy ‘slowed down’ the play to ensure a penalty shoot out. I’m positive that this was not the case. Italy does not have a good record when it comes down to penalty shoot outs and in all it’s history has only once came out with a win after a match settled on penalties.

5 ‘flawless’ kicks gave Italy the win, based on what i observed, this was the only ‘real’ outcome that would have been fair and certainly the one that the performance of the Italian players deserved.

The little town of Spina erupted, fireworks, flags, car horns and much much singing went on for some hours. After which, a time for reflection as a number of grown men and women sat ‘teary eyed’ as they watched the replays and reviews again and again.

The victory for the “Ragazzi Azzurri” was magnificent on many varying levels, not least of which was the flair and passion with which the entire Italian team played their last two matches. Disciplined too, unlike many other terms who are often accused of ‘Latin Hot Headedness’! The Italian team managed to traverse the entire tournament with only a modicum of warnings or disciplinary actions from the referees.

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