Wednesday, June 28, 2006

World Cup Fever

The latest buzz in sports across the globe is the World Cup soccer tournament. Bars and pubs worldwide are packed with fans drinking, cheering, and supporting their favorite teams. Although soccer is not nearly as popular with the U.S. as it is with the rest of the world, there is still a dedicated following among fans on this continent.

When I was younger, it was always about Italy. Growing up in Canada, a country that I don't think ever had a team, we always followed our home country. My father and his family were born in Italy, hence the dedication. The huge Italian population in Toronto created nothing short of mayhem in 1982 when the Azzurri took home the Cup.

There have been a number of upsets and surprises in this year's tournament. One of the most stunning was Switzerland's elimination by the Ukraine, a team in its first ever tournament. Switzerland was beaten by a shootout, and is the only team ever to exit the tournament without conceding a regulation goal.

My Ukrainian coworker and I were discussing this stunning turn of events when we realized that Italy will be playing the Ukraine this coming Friday. He and I, for those 90 minutes, will be rivals.

While we were having that discussion, I couldn't help but look at the shirt he was wearing.

A Ferrari shirt. On the Ukranian, who insists his team will upset Italy in the match on Friday.

Oh, the irony.


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