Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering football world cup, Italy 1990

Today I wrote and thanked  a Swedish journalist who writes about football (soccer/calcio) in Italy, in the Swedish newspaper sports supplement, and thanked for her chronicle that awakened  so many fun memories from when I went to Italy during the football wold cup  1990.

I was 24. Had just ended my civil (& military) service duty as fireman at the airport. I simply grabbed the money I got for my yearlong service and by interrail whent down to Italy. I asked an Italian woman working on the train to italy from  Austria / Switzerland:

- Does this train go to Milan / Genoa? "
- "Si" "
- "You promise!?"
- "Yes! go on board now. basta, Vai! ".

I woke up in Rimini at 08:00 in the morning.
And missed the game Sweden vs. Brazil

But the trip was wonderful. Met with lovely people. Went by myself. On the trip met one Swedish and two Brazilians who also was heading for the game. None had bought a ticket but we all believed we would make it. We had fun and talked until we all just fell asleep. When we woke up at 8 in the morning in Rimini, ITALY, we saw how the railway carriage we rode in, was completely trashed by German fans. They had let us in our cabin sleep in peace, but outside - chaos.

The trashed train carriage was not fun at all, but the journey with INTERRAIL through a Europe that was football crazy was joyfull. With the Germans who went in and out back and forth with train to Italy to see their team play. Americans with gray hair with excited eyes like children who thought he finally found "home" where everyone knew what real football was.

I am not running to arenas watching games, I cant say that, but I appreciate a good game and good players who are artists on the field and makes you dream away and just feel "wow, did you see that! What a pass, what a dribble, What a great GOOAAAL! "- as it is when my country man Zlatan Ibrahimovic play.

The picture above is from Milan's central station. 1990 when I finally arrived in Milan and missed the match, perhaps the match was played in Genoa, it was filled with all sorts of flags waving joyfully. It was a sea of joy. Fotbolls world cup for Swedes was really bad. Its  probably the world cup all Swedes want to forget. But my trip to Italy and Europe was wonderful.
It was also a time when the Berlin Wall and the Warsaw Pact collapsed, when Communism ruled with an iron fist from Moscow and Eastern European countries. There was a time of hope. A sense of freedom. And I traveled with train (interrail ticket) through western Europe and met and talked with people from all four corners of the world. The people I met and myself felt the hope. A belief in something new. What I thought would never happen had just happened and continued to happen.

Then when all hope was there, the war in 1990: Iraq - Kuwait war and the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the five-year jugoslavian Bosnian war. Sweden's economy collapsed with an increased interest rate of 500%over one night (yes 500 not 50) and yes ... a lot was definitly happening. A few years before I had told friends that: "Hey, nothing of historical significans is happening during the time of our generation. Everything is so ... "


Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, artist & graphic design

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