Wednesday, June 20, 2012

England vs Italy - Biggest Match of the Year for Maltese Football Fans


Malta has many peculiarities, one of them being the clear division of the island when it comes to football. You either side with England or with Italy - no in betweens - it is either/or. So this coming Sunday could be considered one of the biggest events of the year on this lump of rock in the middle of the Mediterranean. The beaches will be vacated earlier than usual to ensure being at home on time for the start of the match. Or the other alternative will be to stay on at the beach and watch the match on a big screen at one of the hundreds of bar venues screening the match all over the island. Minutes before the start there will be a sudden hush as you realise the streets are practically empty and the sound of traffic is almost non existent. If you want a quiet Sunday evening walk now is the time to take it! Match over and the deserted streets will spring to life with car horns blowing, carcades parading up and down main roads, especially the Sliema front - this whole celebratory extravaganza lasting into the early hours of the morning.  If you are not into football (like myself) but would like to know which of the two forces won just pop your head out the door/window/balcony and see which flag is hanging outside the car windows.



This peculiar divide of the nation is even worthy of a mention in Wikipedia as shown below.



Football

Malta's "national" sport is football. Many Maltese avidly follow English and Italian matches. Malta also has its own national team; however, every four years the World Cup typically sees Maltese loyalties divided between the teams ofEngland and Italy, and a victory by either of these two teams inevitably leads to spontaneous, and very boisterous street parties and carcades all over the Maltese Islands.




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