Unless you’ve been off of all forms of social media for the past month, you’ve definitely come across a passionate soccer fan at one point or another. We’ve seen anything from flags on cars, to full blown rallies around the city. The 2021 Euro Cup has brought out the prideful personalities of some Torontonians, cheering on their country competing for the title.
Now, there have already been some celebratory activities around the GTA during this tournament. But nothing compares to the parades that will inevitably take place once either Italy or England–the teams competing in the finals–becomes victorious. To help newer fans anticipate what to expect after the Euro Cup finals this upcoming Sunday, here’s a brief history of international soccer celebrations in The 6ix.
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The Danforth Erupts: Greece wins Euro Cup, 2004
The Greek victory of the 2004 Euro Cup was, to say the least, unexpected. A true Cinderella story, this national team had very low expectations going into the tournament. However, after an amazing run, Greece bested Portugal in the finals, ending with a score of 1-0 to claim the European title. So as you would imagine, the Danforth (Toronto’s Greektown) absolutely erupted into pride-filled chaos and celebration. About 11 blocks of Danforth Avenue was covered in the blue and white colours of the Greek flag and had to be fully shut down due to the parading.
Little Italy in a Frenzy: Italy wins World Cup, 2006
As expected, the Italian victory of the 2006 World Cup saw true pandemonium around the GTA’s Italian hotspots. On Market Lane in Woodbridge, Toronto’s St. Clair Avenue West, and of course along College Street. Italy’s victory over France in penalty kicks launched a frenzy of celebration for supporters of the Auzzri. Red, white, and green were seen everywhere around The 6ix. This was definitely to be expected. Toronto’s Italian population is both large and proud, and when it comes to soccer there is no stopping their celebrations. This is something that we may see again, as Italy has the chance to capture the European title this year.
Portuguese Pride in the Streets: Portugal wins Euro Cup, 2016
Just like the Greeks and Italians, the Portuguese population around the GTA is extremely passionate about soccer. So, it comes as no surprise that their 1-0 Euro Cup victory over France in 2016 caused joyful celebrations in Toronto’s Little Portugal. The streets of Little Portugal were completely shut down and the celebration went on well past sundown.
Italy vs. England in Euro Cup Finals, 2020
So what does this mean for the inevitable celebration on Sunday? Well, if Italy emerges victorious, a celebration that’s sure to rival their World Cup victory is sure to be seen. Woodbridge and Little Italy will erupt with joy.
However, if England manages to defeat the Azzuri, the GTA’s large English population is sure to throw a huge celebration too. Especially since a victory on Sunday will snap a 55-year major tournament drought for England. There are plenty of English pubs across Toronto and the surrounding areas, so those are sure to be filled with cheerful fans and happy faces.
One thing is certain, no matter the outcome of this final match, there are sure to be both tears of joy and despair across the GTA from all the passionate soccer fans who will be nervously watching their respective nations face off in the 2021 Euro Cup finals.
Feature Image: Reza Vaziri, Fickr