Belgium’s Red Devils are playing against Italy in the European Championship today, and police are deploying extra forces to make sure that the only clash happening will be the one on the field.
In Brussels, with its 184 different nationalities, someone’s national team is always playing someone else’s, but in other parts of Belgium, particularly the Limburg province, Belgium-Italy football matches are a Big Deal.
The Limburg police zones active in the old mining municipalities, where many Italian immigrants have lived for decades, already announced that they are mobilising extra officers before, during and after the match.
In Maasmechelen, with possibly the largest Italian population in the country, police are calling on both Italian and Belgian supporters to use their common sense, and to “certainly not set off fireworks, regardless of the game’s outcome.”
Anyone thinking this might be an overreaction on the police’s part is probably in for a surprise, as the Italian celebrations in Maasmechelen after the opening match against Turkey not only made national news, but also kept half the town awake for the entire night.
This Quarter Final has many people of Italian descent in Belgium – including me – picking sides, while others are loudly claiming that they will win either way.
The Red Devils (and Jupiler) might be advertising that “we’re all red inside,” but I still think that I might be wearing my Squadra Azzurra jersey tonight.
What do you think? Am I wrong? Will De Bruyne and Hazard be fit to play? Will Immobile and Insigne show us what they’ve got?
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