Football is "the most beautiful game in the world" for the Italians.Football (soccer) in ItalyFootball is "the most beautiful game in the world" for the Italians.

Football, as we Europeans righfully call it because we invented it before the Americans and their football (as you know they call ours "soccer" in North America), is a very tactical, geometrical, imaginative, unforeseeable sport. In Italy it is considered also a game ("gioco del calcio", "the nicest game on earth" the Italians say). You need technical qualities, often inborn, but also a lot of imagination, and great tactical qualities to play it. You need to be instinctive but also rational. The Latin, who generally are the best in the world, simply love to play and touch the ball, and privilege class above anything else.
Brazilian Ronaldo

Brazilian Ronaldo, playing for International (Milan's team)

Football is also a very intriguing and thrilling game. There are many variables influencing the game, even before it is played (long debates on who should play, depending on the technical and human qualities). The result can change at any time. Infinite situations can happen. Scoring a goal can be at times very easy, and in other situations next to impossible. A little episode can change everything. You can be winning 1-0 and dominating, and because of next-to-nothing situations you can find yourself losing miserably 1-3. Or you can lose 1-0, attack all the time and hit the bar twice, see your next-to-impossible-to-miss point saved on the line, and possibly score because of a miraculous rebound. Because scoring a point is very hard you feel in heaven once you do it. The quality of football is also not measured by the quantity of points scored, although this is an important factor.

Nobody is sure to win against. Brazil in the '96 Olympics in Atlanta lost with Japan 0-1: the Brazilians missed 10 points that seemed "already done", while the Japanese would not score another time in a millenium the goal they made in a next to miraculous sequence of rebounds. In last year's Champion League in Europe, Bayern Munich was winning 1-0 with Manchester United. The German team dominated the match, and hit twice the post. Then in the two extra-time minutes the referee conceded, a formality in which nothing changes usually, the Germans lost concentration and the English scored tying up. The Germans demoralized and in a few seconds Manchester United scored again winning the final.
In football in fact "the ball is round" as we say: anything can happen, and matches are always different.

Football is also played with very different styles and cultures, or "schools" as the Italians call them, around the world, and this generates interest. For all these reasons it is the most popular sport in the world. People take it as life: creative, rational and irrational at the same never know what's going to happen. Then if you just begin playing it when you are a child, you are taken by it for life. It can become a fever, and that is why supporters are normally called in Italian "tifosi", literally "typhus patients" (!). The world cup every four year is practically a psychodrama for billions around the globe. In many countries (including Italy) football is practically the... second official religion (together with motor sports).

Alvaro Recoba, still of International

Alvaro Recoba, still of International

You might think that this was the greatest contribution of Europeans to worldwide stupidity, but that's the way it is. The Europeans consider it also a social event generating popular and poetic memories.
We wrote this to make you understand why people out of the US like (i.e. 97.5% of the world population) this sport so much. Americans like games with numbers and situations changing fast. For the rest of the world it is the plot, the play, style and class, situations changing in a state-of-the-art fashion which really matter.

Rome has two important clubs: Roma and Lazio. Roma has yellow and red shirts (the traditional colours of Rome, and a she-wolf as symbol - naturally...). Lazio has light blue shirts and an eagle as symbol. They both play at the Olympic stadium, the largest Italian stadium and one of Europe's most renowned. There is an untreatable rivalry between the fans of the two teams. The most known and popular Italian teams are though all of Northern Italy: Juventus (Turin), Milan and Inter (both of Milan). In fact they have always been successful teams, while the achievements of Roma and Lazio, although they are old teams too, are quite recent.

Click here for a link reporting the results of the football matches in Italy, and in general a complete coverage of the activities, facts, and the lastest news.

Francesco Totti, of Roma AC

Francesco Totti, of Roma AC




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