Passione Azzurra

A family coated in blue!

Daniele from La Spezia tells how he followed Chiellini and his teammates’ European triumph, in a story that includes relatives, superstition and... grilled meat.

Monday, August 9, 2021

A family coated in blue!

We’re publishing the story of Daniele Izzo from La Spezia, a 26-year-old student with a passion for football, for the mountains and for writing, but most importantly of all, with a large Azzurri family!

Work, friendships, different moments of life have characterised recent Azzurri experiences, which have consequently revolutionised each of us. Without, however, preventing us from supporting Roberto Mancini's Italy. So, with some necessary decorations, we pleasantly decided to rename the house where we would watch the matches "Casa Azzurri". The rest was done by the desire to all come together in a large family and by the most classic of WhatsApp groups.

Everything was ready for 11 June, when, even with more than positive feelings, we could not know where the travelling month would lead us and the Azzurri. And, after having pleasantly wrapped up the three evenings of the matches against Turkey, Switzerland, and Wales, we found ourselves having to organise a fourth.

“What will we eat?”: Everything was born from this simple question, even superstition. We had promised ourselves, in fact, that the food and drink accompanying the colour blue would have to be different every evening so as to bring good luck to Chiellini and his teammates. They played, we ate, but the passion was the same: I assure you. And then it worked, and how it worked. Grilled meat, spaghetti with garlic, oil and chilli pepper, pizza with flatbread, carbonara, pasta with seafood and rice salad: In the blink of an eye, between an imaginary hug to Chiesa, a grandfather-grandson comment and a Belotti figurine placed superstitiously under the television, the dawn of July 11 was magnificently just a few hours away and Italy were a couple of hours from facing Southgate’s eleven lions and all of England at Wembley.

Satisfied with the result achieved and clearly in the grip of a 'hubris' delirium in the face of destiny, we decided to come full circle and finish as we had started: The same seats in front of the television, the same pre-game ritual, the same merchandise and, most importantly, the same menu: grilled meat.

Apart from the historic blue victory, my desire is to tell a moment, a photograph of that magical night. The moments before the triumph. Among the people sitting at the table, there were those who had seen many Euros, too many when you consider that it was 53 years since Facchetti led us to raise the cup. But there was also the dreaming eye of those who, painted with a tricolour for the first time, were preparing to memorise a rhyme of eleven names that they will never forget. In the end, there were those who, like me, felt an aftertaste of 2006, but didn’t have the counter-experience of '82. All of us united, men and women, grandparents and children, we wore Scipio's helmet and answered Italy’s call.

The rest, the gloss of this adventure I would like to leave to the message that my grandmother sent on the WhatsApp group created for the occasion, at 3:00 am on 12 July 2021. An ode to family values, words that represent the importance of football so well: “Guys, now that we are European Champions I already feel a hint of nostalgia for the wonderful evenings you gave me. Thank you!”.