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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
Scots Italians follow cup dream
By Giancarlo Rinaldi
BBC Scotland news website
South of Scotland reporter

Italian fans
Franco Marchetti, Nello Paoletti and Peter Domenichelli cheer on Italy
Chianti, crostini and coffee are being bought in bulk for hundreds of homes across the country on Sunday night.

When Scottish Italians gather to watch their national team in action they like to do it with a certain style.

Good food, good wine and hopefully a performance to match is what an estimated 30,000 followers will expect from the World Cup final with France.

There is nervous expectation among one of the country's most passionate but superstitious communities.

I didn't expect this, it was a good surprise

Ask any one of them what they think the result will be and they are just as likely to talk about omens as team selection.

The 12-year-cycle (Italy were finalists in 1970, 1982, 1994 and again this year), match-rigging scandals and even avoiding wearing their white changed strip are all seen as important "signs".

Ale Nardini, who runs a website dedicated to the Scottish Italian community, is lucky enough to be flying to Berlin for the final.

He admits that thoughts of the game have distracted him from running the family business, the Seaview Cafe in Wemyss Bay.

Italy's World Cup final record
Italian badge
1934 Italy 2 Czechoslovakia 1 (aet)
1938 Italy 4 Hungary 2
1970 Italy 1 Brazil 4
1982 Italy 3 West Germany 1
1994 Italy 0-0 Brazil (Brazil win on penalties)

"I feel as if I hit the jackpot having booked my tickets so early and Italy getting to the final," he admits.

He will watch the match in one of the "fan parks" near the ground having watched previous games with friends and family.

About 25 of them got together for the match with Germany on Tuesday night and their roars when Italy grabbed the winner were heard streets away.

"I think it does mean a bit more for Italians abroad," he said.

"It is difficult to explain, you are born and raised Scottish, with a British passport but there's always that wee element - you just feel slightly different."

"I think it is national pride," explained Nello Paoletti, from Dumfries. "There is a sense of achievement after so many disappointments.

"We should have won it in 1994, we should have won it in 1990, even in 1978 we could have done it again."

Italian fans
It is a first World Cup final for Matteo and Chiara Crawford

Peter Domenichelli, who runs Peter's Fish and Chicken Bar in Dumfries, was stunned by the semi-final win against Germany.

"I thought that with Germany playing at home with their home supporters it was going to be a hard game," he said.

"I didn't think they could beat them there - that was the best game of football in the World Cup."

For Matteo Crawford, 13, from Edinburgh, Sunday will be the first time he sees the country of many of his ancestors in the World Cup final.

"I am so happy Italy have made the final, it is a dream come true," he said.

"I hope to see my favourite player, Fabio Cannavaro, lifting the trophy above his head at the end of Sunday evening."

So it looks like that football passion thing is safe for at least a few years to come.




SEE ALSO
Auld Alliance for World Cup Final
08 Jul 06 |  Glasgow and West
In Pictures: Italy's cup story
08 Jul 06 |  In Pictures

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