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Euro Cup in Lucignano

Having watched most of the Euro Cup 2012 in either far-away countries (Malta), or big Italian cities (Firenze) Kristin and I opted for small-town Italia for the final. Lucignano. This small town, about an hour outside of Firenze, is the new home-town of our good friends Jory & Tamara. Kristin and I drove down to cheer Italia on, and bask in the country-wide party that was sure to unfold, at least in the minds of most Italians.

As we found our seat with the pre-game show crawling forward, a man immediately stood up and high-fived Jory. Everyone in town knows Jory. He’s lived in the town off and on for six years, and spent the last summer painting frescoes at a local restaurant. Jory’s high-fiver was sitting beside a grey-haired man with a mangy beard, an Italian flag affixed to his back like a beacon.

Ever since Italy started winning, the bar we were watching the game at had been serving the same meal every evening. Jory explained, “Crostini, pate, porchetta, basically they throw together a meal, but everyone only ever eats the prosciutto. Now we’re stuck with it though, they won’t change up the meal for fear they’ll wreck the winning spree”. There was a subtle change tonight though – more of the prosciutto. Jory shook his head. “If Italy loses, this bar is going to get blamed for sure.”

Beginning of the end

Beginning of the end

Tense

Tense

Good luck charms

Good luck charms

Night falls

Night falls

The camera panned to Buffon, the Italian goal-tender, drawing immediate applause. The opening whistle blew, and bottles of wine were laid down like bricks.

The game was shown on a projected screen, which, 15 minutes in, was being tossed around by the wind. Leaves started to fall from a nearby tree projecting shadows here and there, and for a second, the screen shuddered. Spain scored a minute later, and the crowd, already tense, got even tenser. Jory wanted them to start being rowdy, but with every passing minute, only a couple of spirited yells were heard.

Cassano had a great chance, shooting between the legs of the defender, but it was easily stopped by Casillas, the Spanish goal-tender . Spain scored again, and this time the jubilant Italian spirit was checked. Then, the solution: the camera panned to Mario Monti, the Italian prime-minister, sitting in his box – finally the Italians come to life, booing and yelling at the screen.

The outcome was more or less decided by half-time, as most tense faces became gradually indifferent. Italy’s country-wide party was put on ice, and as the Spaniards celebrated, the brooms came out at the bar. Balotelli cried on screen, while the food, even the proscuitto, made its way to the garbage, forgotten.

The verdict

The verdict

Consoling

Consoling

Sleeping

Sleeping

Dreaming for tomorrow

Dreaming for tomorrow

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