EuroBeery 2012: Quarter Final 3, Italy v Sweden

Quarter Final 3: Italy v Sweden

Blame Paulo Rossi.

The 1982 World Cup was the first that I really appreciated. Back in 1978 I had vague memories of Argentina being stubborn, England not being in it and Scotland being shit apart from Gemmill transmogrifying into Cruyff for five glorious seconds. Four years later, the bad boy of Italian football took Brazil to the cleaners and I had a sudden hankering for an Italia tracky top.

Ever since then, Italy has suggested to me a sense of assured sophistication. With just a hint of menace. The ebullient coffee-shop owner who can hold a stare for an eternity. The willowy girl with the wild eyes who once made me zucchini frittata for breakfast. Plates of food that look so simple yet have depths of flavour that make you wonder.

And so it proves to be with beer.

There are few people with opinions on beer that I take seriously. Phil Lowry from is one of them. When he told me he'd found an Italian beer that I'd love, I believed him. Surfing Hop by Toccalmatto was sticky and bullish and caramel-covered bitter liqorice and... and.. just bloody amazing. Style and substance. Flair and awareness. Rossi's deft touch and Zoff's firm caress.

Sweden don't even get a look-in.

Result: Italy 1 Sweden 0

So Italy meet the Czechs in the first semi final. Find out who joins Germany tomorrow.