Sombre and sober in Leichhardt as Italy outclassed in Euro final

Gutted … Maurizio Montagmese, 28, from Hoxton Park shows his disappointment moments after the final whistle. On the losing side … Italy football fans watch the final at Norton Street, Leichhardt.
Nanjing Night Net

Disappointing morning … Italy fans Maurizio Montagmese, 28, left, from Hoxton Park and Gregorio Galati, 30, from Surry Hills watch the Euro 2012 final in Norton Street, Leichhardt.

Spain crush Italy in Euro final

When Italy lost the 1994 World Cup final, angry fans smashed up a car belonging to a Brazilian supporter on Norton Street in Leichhardt. This morning there was no such retribution for the Azzurri’s 4-0 loss to Spain in the Euro 2012 final. There was pain, despair and maybe a few tears, but an overwhelming acceptance that they were simply outclassed.

Italian fans flocked to Norton Street bars and cafés in the early hours of the morning hoping to watch their team upset the world champions, Spain. Instead everything went wrong as Italy fell victim to a brilliant Spanish performance.

The hub of the Italian community was a sea of blue shortly after 4am but it became a normal Monday morning shortly after the full-time whistle. Dejected fans joined the morning peak-hour rush to work, saddened but respectful of a superior Spanish side.

“It’s going to be sombre. I remember ’94 and I don’t think anyone spoke to each other for a whole day. It was like a funeral procession,” Bar Sport owner Joe Napoliello said. “I don’t think it’s going to be quite like that today. Italians are very proud of what we achieve d… I think we performed very well and this Spanish side is unbelievable. To win three major tournaments is unbelievable, nobody will ever do that again.”

Hundreds of fans swamped the small football-themed café and many more watched from outside, draped with the national flag. Some supporters had pre-booked days off work, anticipating a celebration. Instead, the Moet was put back on the ice as espressos replaced a champagne breakfast.

“We would’ve partied all day. We would’ve been drinking a lot. It would’ve been 2006 [when Italy won the World Cup] all over again.” Mr Napoliello said.

It wasn’t just Italians enjoying the atmosphere on Norton Street. People from many other backgrounds braved the cold winter’s morning to take part in the festivities.

“We’re in the middle of winter, we’re not in summer and the whole place is out here on the street, it’s enthralling.” Portuguese-Australian Andrew De Souza said. “It’s a nice community, plus the coffee is fantastic!”

Young Socceroo star, Kerem Bulut, was supporting Spain on the night but woke-up early to sit alongside the Italian supporters in Leichhardt. Back from Turkey on holiday, Bulut watched in admiration as the Spanish cruised to their third consecutive tournament victory.

“I just came here to watch the game, have fun with the boys,” Bulut said. “I was supporting Spain, I like the way they play. They play a modern style of football, more attractive football. They showed the world how football should really be played.”{

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