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?
BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee.
Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:
With the more infectious coronavirus variants in mind, people have to take into account that the figures will likely go up again when planning things this summer, warned infectious disease expert and GEMS chair Erika Vlieghe on Friday. Read More.
After a year spent walking and cycling when there was little else to do, many of us have realised we – in fact – like it. Read more.
The Council of the European Union has added 11 countries to its list of countries for which restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU should be lifted, in the latest update published on 1 July. Read more.
The government will be discussing whether stricter measures need to be imposed on travellers coming from Portugal, said Home Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden. Read more.
Those seeking the seaside staycation don’t necessarily have to go to the coast this summer after the Walloon city of Louvain-la-Neuve decided to turn its central square into a beach. Read more.
People who have been fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU seem to be well-protected against the delta coronavirus variant, said the European Medicines Agency (EMA) based on the latest scientific data. Read more.
The Flow open-air public swimming pool officially opened to the public early Thursday afternoon at the Pierre Marchant bridge, on the edge of the canal in Anderlecht. Read More.