If there is one comparison which can be drawn between the lovely islands of Sicily and Ireland, it is that both peoples love their soccer "con passione" -- with passion. That's reflected in the newspapers of the world today, from Sicily to Madrid to Washington.
We are on holiday here in the lovely fishing village of Sciacca, on Sicily's west coast, which also boasts of medieval churches and artisans galore, but last night the village was shuttered -- with the exception of those people seated in sports bars by the piazza. Occasionally a cheer would break out, because the game was low-scoring; after 120 minutes, the score was 1-1. Penalty kicks decided the winner; Italy won 5-3.
And Italy's partisans around the world let out more than just a cheer; Italians waving flags and cheering, car horns blaring, noisemakers, yelling, and fireworks all became the tenor of the night. Vespas sped on the piazza's sidewalks, and both ways on the one-way street. We could see fireworks over the mountain as we wound our way up the hill. The celebration probably lasted for hours; two hours was the duration for the semifinals.
For one night, it was Vittorria! Forzo Italiano!
"Italy Is On Top of the World," WashingtonPost.com, July 10, 2006
"La Francia non fa piu' paura. Siamo Campioni del Mondo!" SportNews.it, July 10, 2006