It’s just about time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to kick off in South Africa, and that’s no small matter for a calcio (soccer) crazed country like Italy. Soon the Azzurri, as the Italian national team is called referring to their bright blue jerseys, will be heading off to South Africa for their first game. This year the defending champions carry with them the hopes of repeating their glorious win in 2006.
What does this mean for Neapolitans? Well, anyone who has been to a Naples soccer game knows just how passionate Neapolitans are when it comes to soccer. If you haven’t been yourself, read about my friend Lisa’s experience at a Naples game earlier this spring. While most Neapolitans are big Naples soccer fans, that gets put aside when it comes time for the World Cup. Plus, Italy’s team captain and 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year Fabio Cannavaro is a hometown boy, and his younger brother Paolo currently plays for the Naples team. You can bet there will be some serious rooting going on!
Here’s the scoop: The 2010 FIFA World Cup runs from June 11th – July 11th and you can get all the details on the Italian team here on their team page. Italy is in Group F and first plays Paraguay on June 14th in Cape Town, South Africa. Then they travel to Nelspruit in northeast South Africa to play against New Zealand on June 20th. (I hope they get frequent flyer miles!!)
Best of luck to the Azzurri as they head off to South Africa!!