Euro 2020: Scottish Italian communities talk of Scotland's proud history ahead of Italy vs England football final

Ahead of the Euro 2020 final, Scots-Italians prepare for the big event and explain how Scotland’s rich history with Italy goes deeper than petty rivalry against the English team.

As sales for Italian shirts and flags soar in Scotland before England and Italy go head-to-head in the Euro finale, one might be tempted to pin this Italian romance on Scotland’s intense rivalry with its southern neighbour.

However, peeling back this clear Scottish distaste of It’s Coming Home, we reveal Scotland’s deep and rich history with Italy- a home in itself for many Scots.

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Since the first immigrants arrived in the late 1800s, Scotland has enjoyed an affiliation with Italians.

Scottish Italian staff from Eusebi Deli, Glasgow - Tano, Francesca and Robbie - hold up the Italian flag ans freshly made tri-coloured pasta ahead of the Euro 2020 game between Italy and England (Photo: Hannah Brown).

In 2018, Italian was the fifth most common non-British nationality in Scotland with a population of 12,000 Scottish-Italians that year, according to the National Records of Scotland.

Eusebi Deli, a popular Glasgow Italian restaurant established in the East End of the city in 1954, is fully booked ahead of the game.

Tricolore bunting lines the walls with tri-coloured pasta and cakes and donuts decorated with the Italian flag on show.

Ryan Simmons, assistant manager of the deli in the West End said: "Scotland has such a rich history with Italy and there are so many Italian families here.

Pasta on offer at Eusebi Deli in Glasgow ahead of Italy vs England Euro 2020 game (Photo: Hannah Brown).

"The game reminds everyone of their roots.

"It’s more about Scotland’s support of Italy than Scotland being against England.”

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In Glasgow’s city centre, traditional Italian cafe Sarti is also fully booked and set to welcome fans into its proud Bel Paese venue.

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Renato Cimmino, a Scots-Italian and one of the directors of Sarti said: "We are showing the game with televisions everywhere and flags.

"It will be an all-Italian staff tomorrow and we will be wearing all-Italian colours to work.

"People who are coming are mainly Scottish-Italian families so it will be a very good atmosphere- all cheering for Italy.

Talking about Scotland’s cultural affiliation with Italy, Mr Cimmino added: “I’ve lived in England as well but up here in Scotland it’s different and more like Italy- it’s more simple, a lot of Catholics who are from Italy so there’s that connection.”

Linda Fabiani, former SNP MSP, deputy presiding office and proud Italian-Scot said: “Italy is always my second choice for winner in International competitions.

“However, I’m so impressed by the England team I have to say – some of the players are marvelous – so I’m actually quite torn this time between my nearest neighbours and my nearest relatives.

“I’ll probably be rooting for the Italian side but I’m winning all round."

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“There’s a natural affinity with the Scots-Italian community so I don’t think it’s any team except England.”

Scottish-Italian Alma Reid, whose Nonno came from Barga to Scotland in 1911, opening Le Rendezvous Cafe in Dennistoun – which now sits in the Riverside Museum – said: “Of course I will be supporting Italy and have from the start as well as Scotland.

“I celebrated Italy in 1982 winning the World Cup at George Square.

“There is a huge Italian community in Scotland especially Glasgow and Edinburgh. We gave Scotland Paolo Nutini, gelato and fish n chips.”

So as we await the game, we can look to past bitter rivalries with England but we must remember: there is a proud, beating Italian heart embedded within our Scottish communities.

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