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Vancouver's Commercial Drive expected to draw crowds as Italy goes to Euro 2020 Final

Last Updated Jul 9, 2021 at 11:10 pm PDT

Italy players celebrate after winning the Euro 2020 soccer championship semifinal match against Spain at Wembley stadium in London, England, Tuesday, July 6, 2021. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)
Summary

The final match of the UEFA tournament will pit England against Italy at Wembley Stadium

Italian-Canadians and supporters of the Azzurri are expected to flock to Commercial Drive

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Sunday’s Euro 2020 Final is expected to draw a big crowd of soccer fans to Vancouver’s Little Italy.

The final match of the UEFA tournament will pit England against Italy at Wembley Stadium. But thousands of miles away Italian-Canadians and supporters of the Azzurri are expected to flock to Commercial Drive.

The Vancouver Police Department is standing by, prepared to close the road in the event of an impromptu parade.

Coun. Melissa DeGenova — who will be rooting for Italy along with her family — says it’s possible tens of thousands of fans could flood the area.

“Many vehicles have already been driving around with large Italian flags. This being Little Italy on Commercial Drive with all of that heritage in the area, with the painted crosswalks and the venues that are opening their doors to host people who want to watch the final game. I think that there needs to be a plan for traffic in the area,” she says.

Noting that Italian Day on the Drive has been cancelled for the past two years due to the pandemic, DeGenova says there’s some pent up desire to celebrate.  A drought in championship wins only adds to the potential for a party if Italy secures the victory.

“I’m excited. I hope that everyone celebrates safely, although I know that Italian Canadians are very passionate people and have already had an informal and unofficial parade down Commercial Drive,” she says

“If we win, Italian day is kind of going to be happening on Sunday. Hopefully, everyone does that safely and in line with the B.C. restart plan.”

Phase three of that plan allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 people as well as fairs and festivals.

If Italy wins, it will be their first major championship since winning the World Cup in 2006. The last time Italy won this particular tournament was back in 1968.

England will have the advantage of playing at home, but the Three Lions haven’t won a major championship in 55 years.

Kick-off is at noon.

With files from Sportsnet and Kurtis Doering