Walsall Senior Infection Prevention Nurse Stefano Oggiano has the best of both worlds in the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy this weekend.
Stefano, aged 29, from Rome, will be watching tomorrow’ final with husband Dr Aiden Plant, 33, Consultant Microbiologist at Black Country Pathology Services.
But he admits to having divided loyalties.
And the football-loving Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust nurse, who was a regular at the Stadio Olimpico supporting Roma until he moved to England, has enjoyed plenty of Euro banter between him and his manager, England fan Amy Wallett, 31, Head of Infection Prevention and Control at the trust.
“We have a WhatsApp group and after someone replied that England had been waiting 55 years for this moment, I cheekily replied that as an Italian, I wouldn’t know about that!” said Stefano.
“Up to now I have been supporting both teams, and after being here for six years, I would be happy for either team to win. But ideally I want Italy to win and think we will win 2-1. We’ve got a good team and we’ve been playing well for a while, so we’ve got a good chance. It will be interesting to see what happens!
“As soon as the Euros started I’ve been watching the games. Aiden isn’t so much of a football fan but he’s got more and more into it as the competition has gone on and we’ve seen the matches with his family and really enjoyed it.
“I’ve been here for six years so if England win I’d be happy for them, especially as it’s been 55 years since they’ve been in a final. If they win I shall have a pint to celebrate!”
Amy has had a recent close encounter with the Three Lions – after meeting former England international Jamie Redknapp! She was on a weekend break in Edinburgh with partner Steve Boden watching the British Lions rugby game against Japan when she spotted the former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder, who was filming League Of Their Own, at half-time. During the weekend, she accepted Steve’s proposal of marriage so she has another big date to look forward to.
“I’m still deciding whether to invite Stefano to the wedding!” joked Amy. “I think we will win 2-1 on Sunday but like Wednesday, I think it will go to extra-time.”
For Stefano, the huge interest in the Beautiful Game here reminds him of Italy, where his mum, brother, sister, two nephews and a niece all live. He hasn’t seen any of his family there for two and a half years.
“I’ve got a collection of signed photos of Francesco Totti (Roma’s most famous player) at home – he used to live close to the area where I grew up and a friend of mine is a relative of his,” recalled Stefano.
“I came here to see the world and get experience and although it was a bit lonely to start with, I’m quite an outgoing person so enjoy getting to know people.”
Stefano’s hoping he isn’t so outgoing on Sunday night!