The Italian community in Bedford supported their home country’s victory over England in the European final at Wembley today.
Had it not been for the threat of the gray sky and rain when they were drinking espresso outside La Piazza Caffe and talking about football, Luciano Lambiase and his friends might be in Naples or Rome.
But the 66-year-old retired factory engineer and his 73-year-old childhood friends Pasquale Spadaccino and Franco Bulzis are discussing the upcoming Euro 2020 final in the southern British town of Bedford, the country’s largest Italian community. one.
“It’s back to Rome,” Lambius said, predicting that his national team will beat England in the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
“For us, the meaning of’It’s Coming Home’ has always been a mystery,” he added, referring to the popular national anthem composed by comedians David Badir and Frank Skinner who were sung by British fans during the game.
“This is their first time participating in the competition [Euro] In the finals, we have won four World Cups,” he added.
The 55-year-old Liberato “Libby” Lionetti runs La Piazza in Bedford’s market square. His clients include fans wearing England jerseys, and his predictions are more clever.
He said that he hopes Italy will win 1-0, no matter what happens, football “will definitely return to Bedford.”
Leonetti said that before the game, the atmosphere in the town was “very tense and everyone was excited.”
He added that regardless of the competition during the game, “everything will be fine” afterwards.
“Only those 90 minutes, or how long will it take for your team to win. And that’s it, the next day is another day. You should continue.”
The older men drinking coffee outside the cafe said that they hope the game will go smoothly.
But they admit that the final between Italy and England recalls the abuse they suffered in international competitions in the 1960s and 70s when they were young.
Italian community of 14,000
In 1956, the fathers of Lambiase, Spadaccino and Bulzis left Campania in southern Italy to work in the town’s then booming brick industry, and they came to Bedford as a child.
Today, this 14,000-person Italian community still operates grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants in the town.
The three said that in the early years of poverty after World War II, when they had little else, football united the Italian community.
“We are fortunate to live in one of the most diverse areas of the country, and we will always celebrate this diversity and the great Anglo-Italian relationship we have in Bedford,” the Assistant Chief of Police of Bedfordshire Chang Shaen Basra (Sharn Basra) said.
“Please enjoy the game responsibly and go home safely. Let us all hope to draw a suitable ending for a game where both teams are excellent.”
In the town’s club Italy, the drinks are chilling, and the Italian tricolor flags decorate the tables and walls.
Barman Michael Bianco said Sunday night would be “absolutely crazy.”
Manager Francesco Derico added that if the national team wins, the Italians in Bedford will spend an evening.
“If we lose, we stay at home and eat some spaghetti. If we win, we will go out to celebrate.”