In My Opinion

David J. Neal: Italy fans fall silent at Miami Beach’s Segafredo

 
 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">sticking by his team:</span> Italian soccer fan Piero Unione leaps out of his seat at Segafredo in Miami Beach during Friday’s 1-0 World Cup loss to Costa Rica.
sticking by his team: Italian soccer fan Piero Unione leaps out of his seat at Segafredo in Miami Beach during Friday’s 1-0 World Cup loss to Costa Rica.
CHARLES TRAINOR JR. / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
WEB VOTE Do you think Team USA will win its World Cup match against Portugal on Sunday?

dneal@Miami Herald.com

The view from the cozy interior of Miami Beach’s Segafredo during Friday’s Costa Rica-Italy match lacked only a Vespa scooter.

Movie track lighting, rusted movie reels and photos of Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and jazz artists harkened back to the cool post-World War II Italy. People at the tables under the outside awning peered through the window at the single TV inside, the way folks in the early 1950s used to look through living room windows and appliance store windows at the sole TV in the neighborhood.

They looked on with reserve not usually associated with Italian fans as the four-time World Cup champions fenced evenly with the Group D underdog. The Azzuri’s inability to swat aside the upstarts truly angered only one follower. A small, gray-haired man entered, stared at the still-scoreless game, loudly fired off several seconds of furious Italian and marched out.

A couple of near-misses by superstar Italian striker Mario Balotelli, one an easy chip over the goalkeeper, brought muted groans.

Just before halftime, Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini ran over Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell in the penalty area. Verbal cringes at the sure penalty kick call gave way to almost embarrassed whistles and inhales at no call. Costa Rica’s goal on a Bryan Ruiz header shortly thereafter just seemed karmic.

Stefania Sorrenti occasionally watched from the doorway with her dog, King. Both wore Italy jerseys. King’s carried Balotelli’s No. 9. King’s father, Konan, wore the jersey four years ago, said the Milano-born Sorrenti.

The Segafredo crowd saw more of King than Balotelli in the second half. Aside from Balotelli’s yellow-card offense, that is. Costa Rica confounded Italy, as the usually defensive Italians so often have done to other nations. The lack of scoring chances drained the room’s hope such that the final whistle brought only silent, swift, almost single-file exits.

“I guess Italy was a bit confused,” said Piero Unione, a Segafredo regular who watched from his table outside. “Costa Rica has been going well.”

So has France. Later Friday afternoon, WD 555 on Jefferson Avenue offered up a wine-and-fondue special for France vs. Switzerland. That made sense. The French do wines well, and fondue is a Swiss, Italian and French dish.

Epicurean groups collected at long tables and at a massive, U-shaped white marble bar to watch Les Bleus’ evisceration of the Nattering Nabobs of Neutrality.

Each of France’s five goals drew a huzzah and a few seconds of applause, similar to cheering Alain Prost as he passed during a good qualifying lap at Magny Cours. Then, back to consumption.

A sole Swiss fan got relief via a pair of late goals and a friendly sendoff from nearby French fans after the 5-2 thrashing. Good fondue and good grape make for good relations.

Read more David J. Neal stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category