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06 Jun 2006 10:59
The Italy soccer team will find themselves in familiar surroundings when they arrive at their World Cup accommodation in Duisburg, Germany, on Wednesday.
Antonio Pelle, an Italian expatriate from the southern region of Calabria, jointly owns the four-star Landhaus Milser hotel and has gone to great lengths to ensure his illustrious guests don’t feel homesick.
The facade has been decorated with hundreds of green, white and red flags, while inside terracotta tiles give the place a distinctly Mediterranean feel.
As everybody knows, Italians are very fussy about their food, but this won’t be a problem at Da Vinci, the hotel restaurant where the squad will have their meals.
No schnitzel or sauerkraut here as Italian chefs serve up steaming hot plates of pasta, al dente, of course.
Marco, one of the restaurant’s Italian waiters and an ardent Inter Milan fan, could hardy contain his excitement as he prepared for the arrival of Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon.
“It will be fantastic to serve them, a wonderful experience and a real honour,” he said, gesticulating furiously in true Italian fashion.
“My dream is to see them win the trophy. For me, nothing is more important.”
Italy will train at the modest Meiderich sports ground, normally used by local club MSV Duisburg during the regular season.
All media activity will take place at “Casa Azzurri”, which has been assembled inside MSV Duisburg’s stadium on the outskirts of the city.
Here journalists can tuck into Mortadella ham panini (sandwiches) and guzzle a glass of red wine, before downing the obligatory espresso.
Italy will fly from the Tuscan city of Pisa to DÃ¼sseldorf late on Wednesday afternoon before being driven to Duisburg.
The three-time World Cup winners will face Ghana in Hanover on June 12, before taking on the United States in Kaiserslautern five days later.
Their final Group E match is against the Czech Republic in Hamburg on June 22.
Duisburg is situated in the industrial Ruhr area in the west of Germany.
The country’s 11th most populated city with half-a-million inhabitants, it is one of Europe’s biggest inland ports and is famous for its steel industry.—AFP
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