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Italian blues in New York


Watching the Italian soccer team, also known as the azzurri or blues, play against the U.S. team while in New York was an eye-opener.
Well, it was more about trying to prop those eyelids open for 90 minutes. There are a million places to see the games in New York, just about every bar has a few soccer shirts or a poster flagging World Cup watchers in from the street.

soccer stars ready for action.

American men come in and sit. Have a beer. Chat. Shake a fist every now and then. That’s it. None of my expat Italian friends were game to sit quietly in public or risk expressing divided loyalties.
World Cup soccer is the only soccer I ever watch perhaps because it requires attention just once every four years. Some of my most fond Italian memories involve being surrounded in a public square by thousands of sweaty, chanting men — for a taste of the testosterone-fueled fun, listen to these stadium cheers — so I wasn’t going to miss it.
Fortunately, I found excellent company for this World Cup excursion. A friend in Milan put me in touch with an American writer who had also lived in Florence for a spell. We kept one eye on the yawn-worthy game — it was all downhill after Italy self-scored — and after discovering that we had lived in the same neighborhood in Florence discussed merits of tripe stands around town while marveling over the fact that nearly any barman can concoct a decent Negroni.
When cheers broke out over a U.S. goal, one that just with one eye we pegged as off side and was immediately disqualified, we figured it wasn’t really worth watching. The game ended in a tie, thanks to Italy helping the Americans out by scoring for them.
Following the soccer corruption scandals, it was thought that Italians would do well in the tournament. They kind of had to. After all, the same thing happened in 1982, the last time they took the World Cup trophy home on the heels of a betting brouhaha. This time around, though, aside from looking fab in their D&G designed uniforms, they haven’t really delivered the goods.
The goods seem all to be coming from World Cup-related merchandise, of which there was more this year in Italy than I ever remember having seen before, right down to the Dolce underwear ad in the Milan airport. I have a feeling patriotic azzurri fans may be snapping them up at a discount for 2010.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 8:42 PM | Permalink

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