Europe’s soccer champions returned home at daybreak Monday to the ecstatic cheers of Italians who spent the higher a part of the evening honking horns, setting off fireworks and violating all types of coronavirus precautions to have fun Italy’s 3-2 win on penalties over England.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini, his fist pumping within the air, and coach Roberto Mancini hoisted the trophy excessive over their heads as they descended from the Alitalia constitution at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport. Amid cheers from airport employees, defender Leonardo Spinazzola hopped down the steps on one foot, his different one in a solid after he injured his Achilles tendon earlier on within the match.
Scenes as Italy return to Rome pic.twitter.com/WrHftzwlUg
— James Brooke (@jamesvictorb) July 12, 2021
“Grazie Azzurri,” learn the banner on the tarmac — a sentiment felt throughout the nation after Italy took home its first main trophy because the 2006 World Cup.
The nationwide staff was being feted formally by President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Mario Draghi later Monday, joined by Matteo Berrettini, who had given Italians another excuse for pleasure Sunday by reaching the Wimbledon finals. Berrettini misplaced to Novak Djokovic, however he joined Mattarella at Wembley Stadium to watch the Azzurri end 1-1 after further time Sunday after which win on penalties.
Victorious Italy soccer gamers return to Rome pic.twitter.com/ff8vEHnnIO
— Futball News (@FutballNews_) July 12, 2021
For Italians, the Championship was a brand new starting for his or her youthful nationwide staff and a rustic that’s been craving to return to normalcy after being hit long and hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
A cacophony of honking vehicles, fireworks and singing followers stuffed the evening in Rome as hundreds of individuals took to the streets. As the solar rose Monday, the noise had died down however not the sentiment.
“It seems to me that this victory is so good for the national spirit because after all that suffering for COVID,” mentioned Daniela Righino and Italian residing in Uruguay who was again in Rome for the ultimate. “Yesterday was an explosion of joy. I’m happy.”
🎥 – Sky Sports pic.twitter.com/7YMl90Ikbe
— uSTADIUM Soccer (@uSTADIUMSoccer) July 12, 2021
Many Italians noticed the European Championship as a relaunch for a rustic that spent a lot of the previous 16 months in varied levels of lockdown. Italy was the primary nation exterior Asia to get hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and suffered immensely, significantly within the spring of 2020 when hospitals in northern Italy have been overwhelmed with sufferers and the loss of life toll soared. Italy has recorded greater than 127,000 COVID deaths, the very best within the 27-nation European Union.
“It’s been a complicated year for everyone but especially for us who were one of the first countries hit. This is a signal of a new beginning,” mentioned Michela Solfanelli, a 30-year-old occasion producer based mostly in Milan.
Most virus restrictions have been lifted because the spring and those who stay have been largely ignored by the mass of Italy followers who danced within the streets of the capital chanting “we are champions of Europe.”
David Bellomo, a 23-year-old from the southern metropolis of Bari, identified that this was Italy’s second large victory this yr, after Italian band Maneskin gained the Eurovision Song Contest in May.
“Thanks to Eurovision and thanks to this game and soccer we’ve managed to come back this year,” he mentioned. “We almost got a triple,” he added, referring to Matteo Berrettini, the Italian tennis participant who misplaced the Wimbledon closing to Novak Djokovic earlier within the day.
Shoulder to shoulder, followers nervously watched the penalty shootout on two large screens arrange on Piazza del Popolo, an elliptical cobblestone sq. on the fringe of Rome’s historic middle. A deafening roar rose to the sky as Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved England’s final penalty.
Among the ocean of blue Italy shirts was an immigrant household from Senegal, who got here from the city of Zagarolo, an hour exterior Rome, to expertise the ultimate with the group within the piazza.
“I am not Italian, but I can feel the emotions. I feel it, as if I were Italian,” mentioned Falilou Ndao, 42. “We really love this country.”
His 13-year-old son Yankho, an Italy fan and soccer participant, was impressed by the staff.
“They showed courage. They never gave up, even when they were down by a goal,” he mentioned. “It is so well-deserved. They have been playing great the entire tournament. Go Italy!”
Though persons are nonetheless required to put on masks in crowded conditions, police made no makes an attempt to intervene as throngs of barefaced followers poured of out the piazza, singing the nationwide anthem and lighting flares. Fireworks cracked overhead as followers cruised by way of town waving Italian flags from their vehicles.
Dr. Annamaria Altomare, a 39-year-old gastroenterologist, watched the spectacle with a buddy from a protected distance. They have been among the many few sporting masks.
“We want to avoid the delta variant in this mess,” she mentioned, laughing.