Thursday, June 29, 2006

And now... CALCIO! Football!

Ok, I am nervous again. It is Thursday June the 29th at night. Actually since it is almost 1 am I should say that it is already the 30th. And in Europe the sun already rised. Today is the big day. We are on the World Cup quarters of finals. 8 teams will play in order to know who are the best 4 and who will meet who in the semifinals.

Up to now, two of my teams (Italy and Argentina) made it. One (Switzerland) did not. So I can say that I am overall happy. Nevertheless, each time that an Italian game approaches... I know that I will risk a heart attack (seriously, I do not know how elderly people can handle it).

Unfortunately I will not be able to see the morning match between Argentina and Germany. It is such a pity! All the matches that will be played from now on really worth to be seen. And come on... the World Cup is only once every four years! And the next one in Europe will not be sooner than 12 years from now!

Argentina-Germany.... such a great match and so many things to solve. Argentina still wants the revenge from Italia90. When the German team won against them the World Cup. The Germans on their side, know they will meet one of the favorites of this World Cup (maybe THE favourite of the tournament after Spain lost). And I truly hope Argentina will win! Not only because I have always supported Argentina, but also because I want Argentina to still the dream to "some publishers"... (every reference to a German journal article is intended to be so) :)

Italy-Ukraine. I am always scared of the matches where they say we are the favorite team... it's so stressful and Italy always manages to play in a way that will keep your breath away fot the entire 90 minutes of the match. Sometimes I wonder if watching the World Cup should really be defined as something fun. I think only when you watch another team and you are less involved in the result of the game. One example? Portugal-Netherlands in this World Cup... that match was a real show and I am really happy I did not miss it!!!

About the last game. Last Monday started as the one that could be my favorite day of the week: At 2h40 I went out from the office and took my bike towards a pub named Griffins. This time I got out of the office a bit earlier in order to avoid surprises and be ready to find an option B if the pub where I was planning to see the match wasn't open. Luckily it was open and I could see the whole match with audio! On my way, I biked in front of the Check Republic Embassy (when we had the match against them, I accidentally passed in front of that building and it brought us luck. I was looking for the same kind of thing to happened! And in some weird did! We won!

At the 80st minute of the match I went to the washroom... I didn't really go because I needed to... but because since I was watching the final of the 98 Euro Cup, Italy against France, a French guy went to the washroom when everyone thought Italy had already won. During those few minutes France scored and everything turned against us. Since then... I incorporated a visit to the washroom in my cabalas' list before and during an important Football match. I can just say that it worked during Italy-Ghana at the beginning of the tournament. But it did not work for Switzerland :,(

Then, the last minutes of the match. I was already thinking to the penalties... and what they do mean to Italy. We found our way home with the penalties in our three last World Cup experiences. I really think I can say I have some sort of penalty-trauma. When I saw that the referee accorded us a penalty
(I know it can seem stupid) but I really had tears in my eyes. So many emotions, feelings and memories of the past World Cups. And the awareness that those same thoughts were in the minds of millions of Italians in our peninsula and abroad. Including the 11 men in the field. Too many emotions to handle.
When they scored the penalty it was as a slow motion camera. And I could not believe to my eyes, I could not believe the match was over and we won! we won! we are in the Quarters of finals! Such a deep happiness!

In the afternoon I also went to see Switzerland-Ukraine, where Switzerland was the favorite. From the morning to the afternoon I changed (in the morning I was dressed as an Italian supporter and in the afternoon as a Swiss supporter). In order not to confuse the bar's waiters... I opted to change pub and watch the second game in another pub named MacLarens' (as the street were it is, not as the F1 team).

I felt so happy at that moment! In the table next to mine there were a lot of italian men. From their 40s to their 70s I think. They were all drinking red wine (which they offered me when they discovered I was Italian as well) and pizza. The best thing? I could overhear them speaking in Italian... and about the World Cup. About teams, players, weather, organization , everything! I could almost feel at home. Because I know that is the kind of debate that everyone is having in Italy right now. In the beach, in the mountains, at home... everyone is focused on the World Cup!

Unfortunately Switzerland lost that afternoon and that made me quite sad. Still unfortunately some news from Italy (Pessotto's experience) make the World Cup lose a bit of its importance. That great player was depressed and he tried to commit suicide (apparently). Everyone in Italy and in the italian team is affected by that. Because this guy is a great player and a very human person. I really hope he wil get better and all his family as well.

And now... quarters, we are coming

and good night... my eyes are closing and I have to read twice whatever I write because in the middle of a sentence I just start forgetting and fell asleep.


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