Published: 24/06/2012 11:00 - Updated: 24/06/2012 14:53

'May the best team win'

La Rondine’s Kevin Hefford, left, and Salvatore Garganese show their support
La Rondine’s Kevin Hefford, left, and Salvatore Garganese show their support

Football fans in the county will be gearing up for tonight’s clash as England take on Italy in the quarter-final of Euro 2012.

Families, friendships and work colleagues alike will be divided as Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions take on Cesare Prandelli’s Azzuri to see who is worthy of a place in the last four of the competition.

All week the hot topic of discussion in the area has been whether you are team England or Italy, tea or cappuccino, baps or paninis.

With an estimated 20,000 Italians in Bedford the game will be one of the most hotly contested rivalries in the town and the first time the two giants of world football have met at a major tournament for 22 years.

On that occasion hosts Italy were the victors but England will draw on ‘that night in Rome’ some eight years later when they secured qualification to France ’98.

And at La Rondine bakery in Queens Street, Bedford, it’ll either mean success for owner Salvatore Garganese or colleague Kevin Hefford. Mr Garganese said: “I think it’s quite evenly balanced at the moment and could go either way.”

Superintendent Jim Saunders of Bedfordshire Police said: “Experience tells us that whatever the result of the game, Bedford High Street and surrounding roads will be very busy with celebrating fans of either nationality and that traffic delays and congestion are likely for a short time after the final whistle.

“We would ask people to be patient if they find themselves inconvenienced while we clear the roads so that everyone is safe. We also remind people not to drink and drive.”

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