To Italians, soccer is the equivalent of a religion. Soccer, or as the Italians call it, Futbol, is a way of life. Italian soccer fans make American sports fans look tame. Americans watched the Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver with disgust, yet there is gang related violence that surrounds soccer teams and their fans.
In the past couple of weeks the qualifying rounds for the world cup started. If you don’t know, the world cup is a soccer tournament that pits country versus country. The world cup is held every four years, with qualifying starting two years prior to the tournament. Italy historically is one of the tournaments top teams. The Italians have won the cup four different times, including back to back cups in the thirties. They also boast a European championship.
In this qualifying match the Italians tied the Bulgarians. The Bulgarians are not one of the top teams in the European division. The European division is consistently the toughest division to win in. The division is home to perennial power houses such as Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, and France. The only other division in the same league as the Europeans is the South American division.
The fact that the Italians could not beat an easy team like the Bulgarians has sent a shock through the Italian community. This falter has scared many of the Italians, they are scared that their team will not make the upcoming world cup. If the Italians miss the world cup it would be the equivalent of team USA not making the Olympic basketball tournament, or not making the baseball world cup. However, the Italian soccer fans are nothing compared to Irish and English soccer fans.