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Report 1114: Bergamo, Venice, Lerici, Piemonte, Friends & World Cup Mania

By girasoli from Hawaii, Summer 2006

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Page 18 of 23: World Cup Mania

photo by girasoli

preparing for the match

Tuesday, July 4th, the day I arrived in Torino, was also the day of the Italy-Germany semi-final game. In Italy, the World Cup is called i Mondiali and I had been told that the two ways to cheer on Italy's team were Forza Italia and Forza Azzurri (azzurri meaning blue as their uniforms are blue). During my travels in Italy this summer, I could feel the excitement build after each Italy win. I was so fortunate to be in Italy during the World Cup. Although I have always been aware of the passion for soccer in Italy, being in Italy during the World Cup finally helped me really appreciate and understand the game.

I was pretty excited to be in Torino for the semi-final game. I was hoping that the match would be shown in one of the piazzas. I asked around and found out that the match would be broadcast on a huge outdoor screen in Piazza San Carlo. What a perfect way to spend my first night in Torino! After I left La Mole, I noticed little stands of flags sprouting up all over. The energy and anticipation of the match was everywhere. I stopped back at my hotel to change, grabbed some focaccia for dinner at a nearby shop, and then headed to the piazza.

I couldn't believe the scene when I arrived at the piazza. It was CRAZY!! There were so many flags waving and the horns blasting constantly!! There was singing and the cheering. Just being in the crowd with everyone was such an amazing feeling! This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. When Italy came out before the match began, fireworks started going off and there was colored smoke everywhere. Right by the statue in the middle of the piazza, there was a bright red glow that looked like the statue was being set on fire. I became a little concerned but realized it could not have been a fire since all the police, who were positioned all around the edge of the piazza, did not budge. I finally realized that it must have been the one of those red smoke things but for a minute there, it really looked like the statue was going to burn up.

Throughout the first half, the horns continued to blow constantly and the cheers and singing continued. There were three brave Germans in the crowd standing near me. Their faces were painted in the German colors. Katia and I were sending each other SMS messages back and forth. I called Francesco to tell him where I was but then could not even hear him on the phone. I tried to call him back after walking over to the edge of the piazza but my phone went dead once again! It was a great first half although there was still no score.

The minute the first half ended everyone evacuated the piazza! My guess was everyone was going somewhere to use the bathroom. Since I also had to use the bathroom, I headed back to my hotel. This was my first night in Torino. Since it was a pretty big city, and I didn’t know how safe it was to walk alone late at night, and because I did not know what the reaction would be like when the game ended, I decided to watch the second half of the game in my hotel room.

The second half of the game ended in a tie. The match then went into overtime. Italy scored two goals back-to-back right at the end of the overtime period. The town went wild each time they scored! It was now 11:30. The celebration began and went on for over an hour.

FORZA AZZURRI!!

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