|Italy 1-1 England. Juventus Stadium.|
We'd all heard the horror stories of football trips to Italy. Stabbings, batton charging police, running battles on the terraces, mopeds being launched and chairs luzzed. "Make sure you pack your running shoes and your stab proof underwear" was the general advice. Do I look like I own a pair of running shoes? And as far as stab proof underwear goes, I know living in Brighton would you'd think make it easily accesible but would it really be necessary?
|Snow covered Alps just a ciagrette lighters throw from Turin|
The trip started and ended in Milan, a short 45 minute or so hop via the very amicable Italian express train service alongside the snow covered alps from Turin. There wasn't s great deal of time to explore Milan before heading to the host city but naturally we found time to cram a couple of beers in.
|Look out for rouge minis...|
Turin itself was a beautiful place. Situated at the foot of the mountains, it is a mixture of the old and the modern with the arches that The Italian Job made famous in all their glory, minus a plethora of minis running riot around the city.
Having been subjected to weather that was wetter than an otters pocket upon leaving Gatwick, it would have been rude not to take advantage of the balmy sunshine, sitting outside in t-shirt and sunglasses in one of Turin's delightful piazzas drinking refreshing Italian beers. Or at least it would have been had Anticco Cafe not run out of local brew due to the plethora of England fans enjoying their facilities - Becks all round it was.
|The "small" pizza which could block a mans|
arteries with one moutful
|Italian entreprenuership at it's best - this chap sells bottles of|
beer from a trailer to England fans queuing for the shuttle bus
to the ground. Berlusconi would be proud.
After some pretty stringent security which involved an ID check against name on ticket, a thorough search, another search and then another turnstile check we were into Juventus Stadium. And what a place it is. If you'd missed leg day for the trip then there was no need to worry, the steepness of the stands was such that you got a thorough work out just getting down a couple of rows of steps.
|How's that for a steep stand?|
|The England section|
|Juventus Stadium in all her glory|
|Conservatories as executive boxes was a novel addition|
|Pints in the Joking Jester with some friendly locals|
before moving onto a student night at Lapsus.
One thing they certainly weren't having to go through is the nightmare accomodation situation suffered by the journalists at McCarthy Football Travels. Somehow, I'd managed to book myself into a hostel that appeared to be run by a geriatice former mafia boss and in which I was the only person staying. He also had a penchant for parading around naked. One man in an eight man room in an empty hostel. If that wasn't the premise to be murdered in some sort of horror movie scene then God knows what was.
|Only guest in an eight man room in an empty hostel run by|
a retired geriatic mafia boss. Somehow, I survived
|Turin Cathedral - home to the Holy Shroud|
|Home of the Last Supper|
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini (Emiliano Moretti), Matteo Darmian (Luca Antonelli), Andrea Ranocchia, Leonardo Bonucci, Roberto Soriano, Mirko Valdifiori (Marco Verratti), Marco Parolo, Alessandro Florenzi (Ignazio Abate), Eder (Ciro Immobile), Grazian Pelle 1 (Franco Vazquez).
England: Joe Hart, Nathaniel Clyne (Kyle Walker), Chris Smalling (Michael Carrick), Phil Jagielka, Kieran Gibbs (Ryan Bertrand), Phil Jones, Jordan Henderson (Ryan Mason), Fabian Delph (Andros Townsend 1), Theo Walcott (Ross Barkley), Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney.