Places to watch Italy
Italians have settled the world over and so it's no surprise that London has a thriving Italian population, with concentrations around Clerkenwell and Soho. Official figures says there are only 41,000 Italian-born people in London, although the number of Italians living in the capital is bound to be much higher – especially when taking in the transitory student population. The 2006 World Cup winners have not won the European Championships since 1968 and are currently engulfed in a domestic match-fixing scandal that could see them come unstuck in what is a very tricky group. The Azzurri's World Cup campaign in 2010 was dire – resulting in them finishing bottom of their group – and they come up against the world champions Spain, an exciting Croatia team and an Irish side they have failed to beat in three previous attempts. Expect long waits in London's many family-owned pizzarias on the nights Italy are playing this June...
Sunday 10th June, 5pm – Spain 1-1 Italy
Thursday 14th June, 5pm – Italy 1-1 Croatia
Monday 18th June, 7.45pm – Italy 2-0 Ireland
- QUALIFIED AS RUNNERS-UP IN GROUP C -
QUARTER FINAL: Sunday 24 July, 7.45pm - England 0-0 Italy (0-0 AET, 2-4 on pens)
SEMI FINAL: Thursday 28 June, 7.45pm - Germany 1-2 Italy
FINAL: Sunday 1st July, 7.45pm - Spain 4-0 Italy
Tel: 020 7437 4520
22 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4RT
Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station, Leicester Square Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station
So many people flocked to Soho's Bar Italia in 2006 to watch Italy beat France in the final that Frith Street had to be completely closed to traffic due to the overspill. It's no surprise: the actual bar is pretty tiny and usually filled with regulars. For those lucky enough to get inside Bar Italia, there's a big screen at the end of the deep and narrow Soho institution, which is open practically 24 hours. The interior of this bar could have been shipped lock, stock and barrel from any town in Italy with its polished, stainless steel counter, hams, salamis and strip lighting. Most people have to settle for outside, where hundreds gathered last time round to roar with delight when Zinedine Zidane was sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest. Outside and sprawling out over the Soho pavement and road, a sea of blue congregated to cheer on the Azzurri. For a great communal atmosphere, nothing can quite match Bar Italia - but if you go, don't expect to get a perfect view of the action and keep your fingers crossed for good weather.
Tel: 020 7636 8965
31 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1JQ
Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station, Goodge Street Station
An alternative to Bar Italia is another Italian institution in the area, Marino's – a Juventus-supporting Italian bar/restaurant near Tottenham Court Road, which regularly shows Serie A fixtures. Enjoy pints of Peroni and slices of homemade pizza whilst you watch Cesare Prandelli's team do battle in Poland. If this proves too busy as well, then there is always Italia Uno, a bit further up the road on Charlotte Street.
Tel: 0207 831 1888
35-37 Theobalds Road, Bloomsbury, London, WC1X 8SP
Tube: Holborn Station, Chancery Lane Station
A family run Italian bar and cafe in Holborn, Sfizio will be showing every midweek game at Euro 2012 (they are only open to reservations on weekends) and will offer a great range of drinks and deals throughout the tournament. £15 will get you five Coronas, Peronis or San Miguels - perfect for enjoying Cesare Prandelli's Italian side as they do battle in Poland and Ukraine.
Tel: 020 7608 2774
44 Old Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 9AQ
Tube: Barbican Station
A very popular bar during the World Cup in 2010, il Cicchetto on Old Street is set to welcome Italian fans through its doors for Euro 2012. The bar is run by two siblings and is billed as 'an Italian bar with a touch of Englishness'. In 2010, complimentary pizza was handed out to guests at the football and whilst there are no assurances of a repeat surprise this year, you can still expect a warm atmosphere and a good view of the game.