Italian pre-match banter can appear overwhelmingly good-natured, especially to people from some other football-mad European countries.
Part of this apparent friendliness though may be down to the tendency of some Italian fans to ‘gufare‘, or to praise opponents before a match in the hope of ‘jinxing’ them.
Still, Italian fans had a few points they wanted to make to England supporters before the two teams meet at Wembley on Sunday night.
Florence FC questioned which “home” football would be coming to, given that the city’s famously rough calcio storico predates the more genteel modern game by several hundred years.
RE: Football Coming Home
Football: invented in England in 19th Century
Calcio Storico: invented in Florence 16th Century
— ACF Fiorentina English (@ACFFiorentinaEN) July 9, 2021
Some also pointed out that even England’s red-and-white flag of St George’s Cross originated nowhere other than… Genoa.
Your flag 🏴
— Federico Gatti (@federicogatti) July 9, 2021
Meanwhile others are less concerned with the score and more with the health of Italy’s popular 79-year-old president, Sergio Mattarella, who is expected to join the Italian contingent in Wembley on Sunday night.
With new cases of the Covid Delta variant in the UK climbing into the thousands, the hashtag “President stay at home” began trending on Twitter.
— CRAPEZ 👾 (@realcrapez) July 8, 2021
After all, Italy is supposed to keep church and state separate (Chiesa, “Church”, being the surname of one of the Azzurri’s wingers).
— robinùd🧀 (@r0b1nvd) July 8, 2021
And former England striker Gary Lineker failed to impress Italian Twitter when he posted a photo of his culinary tribute to Italy on Saturday.
Those are rigatoni, Gary.
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) July 10, 2021
And no doubt Italian fans will have a few more food-related messages for the English before the tournament is over.
— Pietro Panarisi 🇮🇹 (@Pietro_Panarisi) July 9, 2021