Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Everywhere I went on Saturday I was asked which team I would be supporting in that night's World Cup match and everywhere I went I was met with blank stares of incomprehension when I explained that as I am Welsh, not English, the England team's fortune or misfortune was of no interest to me. I didn't have the heart to add that I don't care about sport anyway!

At midnight, in a good old British "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" frame of mind, I decided I might as well watch the game, which I did with my twitter feed open, and at first I was puzzled at the number of comments disparaging the Italo-Argentinian player Gabriel Paletta, as his name had been notably absent from the Italian commentary. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the Italian tweeters' enthusiasm to get him off the pitch had nothing whatsoever to do with his footie skills;  rather, the poor man had offended their sense of style by combing his hair, somewhat ineptly, over his bald patch and this was earning him more derision than if he had missed a penalty!

One had to feel sorry for the England team's physiotherapist, who injured his ankle cheering and had to be carried off on his own stretcher; it was such a British sort of misfortune, somehow and the Italians were incredulous.  

When "super Mario" [as young Mr Balotelli has become again] scored Italy's second goal the bar opposite erupted and I'd have known what had happened even if I hadn't been watching the action on TV. And of course, at the end of the match it erupted again and over in Catania old Etna decided to join in.

A sour note was struck at around 2 am Italian time on Sunday, when Maurizio Gasparri, former Interior Minister under Silvio Berlusconi and currently Vice President of the Italian Senate, tweeted that his country had seen off the English, who are "pretentious arseholes." Now, I may not be English but I am British and I object! I have tweeted both Mr Gasparri and Mr Renzi to say so. In fairness, I should add that many Italians have also expressed their indignation and shame at this remark.

Whilst we are on the topic of Britishness, I have only one thing to say about Scottish independence:  if you do it, Scotland, it's going to be even more hellish trying to explain the concept of the UK - or what will be left of it - to Italians!


Lee said...

You're not alone, Pat. I'm not following the World Cup, other than what I see and hear on the news bulletins. As I've mentioned previously, soccer/football doesn't interest me at all.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Glad I'm not alone, Lee!


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