A small but loud group of Azzurri supporters flocked to Italian cafés on Commercial Drive yesterday to watch as the defending World Cup champions tied Paraguay 1-1 in their opening match.
“We are just at the beginning,” said a blue-garbed Alvise De Buzzaccarini, outside Vera’s Burger Shack. “We know that Italians are slow starters. It will pick up.”
The largest crowd was at Café Roma where blue-clad supporters ate pizza and watched the game. Outside, a trio in blue and white sold jerseys, sunglasses, bracelets and even wigs with the red-white-green Italy flag.
Nick Carnovale and Linden Santorelli, both of Coquitlam, came to the Drive to cheer on Italy.
“We just like watching the games down here,” Carnovale said. “Our families lived around here when they were kids and always came down here. They all lived in East Van.”
Despite the tie, neither was ready to count the defending champs out.
“We’re definitely contenders,” Santorelli said.