Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Carluccio's Way
















Trying to lift ourselves up from England's (in-)glorious defeat on Saturday has been difficult but what better way than watching a fine and attacking Italian side "stick one on" the Germans.

We watched the game at Carluccio’s and it was essential to get there early. When we arrived at 6pm it was already starting to fill and by 7.30pm it was pretty "intimate" but there were some handy tables at the back where we tucked into an "Antipasto Massimo" and attempted to stave off the energy-sapping heat with copious amounts of vino bianco.

As the players emerged from the tunnel the atmosphere started to ramp up and Fratelli d'Italia was sung with a gusto second only to Le Marseillaise at the Bar Des Magis.

The game commenced and our wine got held up at the bar as the waiters also settled down to watch too. The service in general though was fantastic with the waiters doing a sterling job under trying circumstances.

Italy played much the better in the first half, like France they've really improved as the tournament has progressed. Gattuso was immense stamping his authority on the midfield like Rooney on Carvalho. The second half was a little more even with Germany creating a couple of scoring opportunities.

Extra time beckoned and we indicated in some banter with our Italian neighbours that they had better score in open play as if it went to penalties "You're in trouble!" and with a little cajoling from our friends I managed to start a chorus of "Italia, Italia, Italia" and it must have influenced things in Dortmund as the Azzuri hit the woodwork with two fine efforts early in extra time. wave after wave of Italian attacks came but it was beginning to look like it might not be their night. Then, at the death, come il cacio sui maccheroni! - Grosso struck and the place went wild, chairs were knocked over, drinks spilled and there was even kissing of my cheeks - one of the few times I'll allow men to kiss my cheeks is after such a superbly timed goal.















Before the melee had subsided Del Piero made it two and the crowd went even more wild. A lot of us didn't see that second goal as the TV was obscured but I can assure you all it was very well taken. The celebrations continued in St. Christopher's place as we went outside to get some deserved and needed fresh air.















Making my way home two things were on my mind:

1) The celebrations after the game were amazing but as we turned the corner and headed down the street we were back in London again and no-one knew we'd just spent four hours in an outpost of Italy. I couldn't help but imagine how it would be if England had got to the final, it would be like that everywhere.

2) If France get through tonight I'm going to be really torn on who to support on Sunday, I admire both countries, the food, the drink, the language, the people and both bars we've been to for those countries have had electric and very friendly atmospheres. Let us cross that bridge when we come to it though and concentrate on supporting Les Bleus tonight.

Many thanks to Carluccio's and, if you want to support Italy on Sunday and are looking for a venue I can thoroughly recommend it.

Congratulazioni Italia!

Ciao,

Pooch

Comments:
Good work on getting a shot of our waiter in the first picture - to the right of the screen... Did we ever work out if we'd tipped him or not?
 
I probably didn't make this clear in my post but this match restored some of my faith in football that was lost from during the debacle on Saturday.

Also, that waiter was a saint, I'd go so far as saying he was the best waiter I've ever had. I should go round to Carluccio's and see if we can get something to him.

Fratelli d'Italia, l'Italia s'è desta...
 
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