One group of Azzurri supporters – based in Montreal's Piccola Italia/Little Italy neighbourhood – are still so bitter about Janne Andersson's side upsetting the odds and eliminating their team in the play-offs that they took a salty full-page ad out in a Swedish newspaper this week, to remind the Swedes that they will be cheering for the Nordic nation's opponents in Russia.
“Dear Sweden,” the advert starts. “We wish you all a happy National Day! The day of the Swedish flag! May the brännvin flow enough for you to forget that you haven't won a World Cup in almost 100 years.”
“Know that all our bitterness against you will be expressed by cheering for South Korea, Mexico and Germany – after those matches we're sure you won't be in the race anyway,” the ad placed in the Gothenburg edition of the Metro continues.
“This isn't against you. No… the fact is, everything is against you!” it concludes.
Cristina D’Arienzo, general manager of La Piccola Italia in the Canadian city and one of the people responsible for the ad, explained to The Local that this summer won’t be the same without the traditional World Cup celebrations for Montreal's Italian community.
“For us Italians living abroad, especially in la Piccola Italia di Montreal, the World Cup means everything. It is something visceral that keeps us tied to our homeland in Italy,” D’Arienzo told The Local.
“As a neighborhood we're also wondering if people will gather in our many coffee shops and bars to watch the games. So it also has an economic impact that we thought we wouldn't have to face…until Sweden won in the qualification round.”
The highly unlikely nature of Sweden's elimination of Italy has left a sting:
“The last time Italia didn't qualify for the World Cup was almost 60 years ago…when the World Cup was held in Sweden, so we're starting to think that you have something against us Italians. Or maybe it's the other way around,” she joked.
Fortunately, the Swedes seem to have taken the joke in their stride judging by their reactions on Twitter. Which is much easier to pull off when you’re going to the World Cup and the other country isn't, of course.