Last night we watched Italy win the World Cup final against France with our friends at a neighbor’s house here in Anzio. This was not an individual event but a national event for Italians. There really is no comparison for the Italians’ interest in this event with anything we would experience in the US. People from Milan to Rome to Naples filled piazzas to watch the game on giant televisions and after the victory filled the streets as they honked their horns, shot-off fireworks and reveled in their team’s shoot-out victory.
The closest experience to this I have had is an Ohio State Buckeye football victory over Michigan while living in Columbus but that was just one city, this World Cup victory was celebrated by all of Italy. Projections were that as much as 90% of the population tuned in to watch the game and there were over 500,000 in Circus Maximus in Rome, which is a field about as big as a football field, to watch the game on outdoor televisions. The post game shows had scenes of people in the main piazzas of Rome, Milan and Naples celebrating with flags waving. We could hear the horns and sirens up on the main road several blocks from our hose well after 1:00AM when we finally made it to bed.
Even with Zidane of France’s blatant foul the men in blue from Italy will be cheered here in Italy, at least until the 2010 World Cup.