Soccer fanatic and former Cobram Soccer Club player continues a long-standing tradition of saving 12 months’ worth of annual leave for World Cup.RIAHN SMITH AND ROBERT HENSON June 20, 2014 3:57am
If you pass Vince Iannucci in the street during the next month, don’t be alarmed if he looks exhausted.
He will likely have been awake half the night, keeping track of this year’s soccer World Cup.
The soccer fanatic and former Cobram Soccer Club player has this year continued a long-standing tradition of saving 12 months’ worth of annual leave for this special occasion.
‘‘I’m hanging out to watch every game, so I’ll be up at all hours, ’’ Mr Iannucci said.
‘‘All of my brothers-in-law are also into it, we all follow it fairly passionately. We even have our own tipping comp on the go.’’
The month-long viewing session earns him a few strange looks at work, but Mr Iannucci said the majority of the world watched soccer.
‘‘Probably about 80 per cent of the world follows it, and something like .03 per cent of the world follow AFL. I love footy, too, but for me (soccer’s) a passion
Mr Iannucci has been a longtime Italy fan for more than 30 years, but this year his allegiance is shifting towards Australia.
‘‘I was probably 10 years old when I first started, it was 1982 and I remember watching the knockout stages (of the World Cup) where (Italian player Paolo Rossi scored three goals against Brazil and I fell in love with it, ’’ he said.
‘‘I started playing the next year and I’ve been glued to the telly for every World Cup since.
‘‘(My son) started watching the last one, he was eight and I don’t think he lasted to kick-off in the first game, he fell asleep.’’
It’s clear the love of the game has been passed down to the next generation.
Mr Iannucci’s son Gianluca, 12, plays for the Victorian under-13 team and said he was excited to experience the biggest soccer tournament in the world.
‘‘All the best players in the world will be playing, all the best teams, ’’ Gianluca said.
‘‘I’ll be trying to watch most of the games that I can, but don’t think I’ll be falling asleep this time. I’ll watch the early games, go back to sleep and then go to school.’’
With many World Cup moments to relive, Mr Iannucci rates the 1986 World Cup final between Argentina and West Germany as the best. He tipped England to be this year’s dark horse.
‘‘People are going to call me an absolute idiot, but for some reason England keeps popping into my mind. They’re an unknown, they’ve flown under the radar for quite a while, but I think they’ll go well, ’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t think we (Australia) will get out of the group, but I don’t think we’ll embarrass ourselves.
‘‘We’re up against the two finalist from 2010 — Spain will be very strong and Chile is a bit of an up-and-comer in South America.’
‘‘I think a lot have written Australia off, they’ve been through a bit of turmoil, dropped a lot of players, but Postecoglou has turned the game around in Australia.’’
Mr Iannucci has never been to a World Cup himself, and doesn’t anticipate doing so in the next eight years.
‘‘In 1994 I was in Canada with family, and I was seriously thinking I might drop into the States (for the World Cup).
‘‘I was really hoping in 2010 that we would get the World Cup.
‘‘And I don’t have any cousins in Russia, and don’t know anybody in Qatar, so they’re looking unlikely.’’
Group A — Croatia, Brazil.
Group B — Spain, Chile.
Group C — Japan, ‘‘throw at a dartboard for the other three’’ (Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Greece).
Group D — Italy, England.
Group E — Switzerland, France.
Group F — Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Group G — Germany, Portugal.
Group H — Belguim, Russia.
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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