Last Saturday night Chiara and I spent in the mountains of Umbria at her fathers mountain house. A little town called Ospedaletto with one store, a bar, and two little churches. However, we didn’t hanmg out in town at all, because we were celebrating Chiara’s little sister Giulia’s 8th birthday. And whatta party. Cakes and tarts and chips and Coca-Cola and the other vacationers on the street, we partied from midafternoon until midevening.
Fortunately everything wrapped up early in the evening because there was something else I was quite excited for that Saturday (as if the birthday weren’t enough). It was the Italian Supercup of Football featuring the only 2 high performing teams from last season not tainted by scandal: AS Roma (my team) and Inter Milan. Known simply as “Inter,” or “The Milan team not owned by that skeevy piece of shit Berlusconi.” It promised to be a high calibre match with both sides fielding plenty of World Cup talent; for Roma: heroic but still not fully fit Francesco Totti, promising but overly elbowsmashing Daniele De Rossi and consistent Simone Perrotta all Italian nationals. For Inter: awesome Argentine striker Hernan Crespo, mediocre-but-thinks-he’s-awesome Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Brazilian horse-like attacker Adriano, French midfield lynchpin Patrick Vieira and Portuguese talisman and former European player of the year Luis Figo, plus Italian diving instructor and semi-final game-winning goalscorer Fabio Grosso and centreback headbutt target Marco Materazzi (who also scored two key goals, let’s not forget).
Plenty of strong players on both sides, but certainly Roma went into the game the underdog. I knew this, and was appropriately nervous as the living room was cleared for my fan centre, the little tiny TV tuned into RAI 1. Nobody could’ve (or did) predict the explosiveness of Roma’s attack in the first half, they came out strong and confident, pulsing forward on the attack and were rewarded in the 13th minute with a goal from the always delightful Mancini, then TWO MORE within 11 minutes from second stringer (now first string?) Alberto Aquilani.
Holy Shit! What an upset, going into the half underdog Roma was leading 3-0. That’s too good to be true. And Patrick Vieira scored just before the halftime whistle meaning Roma was leading 3-1. Things were looking good.
Until they started playing football again. Roma just got worse, and Inter got better. Final score 4-3. Roma narrowly able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And people wonder how I can be a big Roma tifoso after living here for only a year and a half. Well, I have experience with supporting these types of hometown teams. I refer specifically to the Vancouver Canucks who spent the last NHL season battling for first in their division. Only to miss the playoffs. Entirely. As in they didn’t even finish eighth. My god, what an implosion. Much like my AS Roma managed to do in one night. For the SuperCup. They call it the Super Cup. We had it, and we lost it. *sigh*
It was the source of much smugness in the mountains that night. Those who cared not about the game would’ve been begrudgingly congratulatory had Roma won and I was happy contented themselves with a smug sympathy. However the season is young, and Roma had 34 minutes of awesome football, in which Totti did next to nothing. If they can beef it up to 60 minutes, and Totti does something (anything) we might scrape a win out of it.
Look out Champions League, we’re just gonna get better.