Italy celebrates after triumphing at Euro 2020

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Italians flocked to the streets and squares in large numbers on Sunday as the national soccer team beat England to win Euro 2020, celebrating a success widely seen as a respite from the heartache of not qualifying for the final World Cup.

Fireworks and music erupted after the 3-2 shootout win after a 1-1 draw after extra time across the country, as flags waved and euphoric fans sang on the hot summer night after the final at London’s Wembley Stadium.

“It’s incredible, it’s incredible, you can’t feel better, it’s incredible, we won the final,” said Stefano Gucci, a fan of the crowd in Rome’s Piazza Del Popolo.

The Italians praised national coach Roberto Mancini for leading the country out of deep disappointment when they missed qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and led them to their first European title since 1968.

“Big thanks to Roberto Mancini and our players, who represented Italy well and did honor to the sport,” said Republican President Sergio Mattarella in a statement.

Joy broke out in cities from north to south of the country after Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma’s last save from Bukayo Saka. Fans filled the central Milan Cathedral square and cars honked in Naples. Supporters also gathered to celebrate in Jesi, the central Italian hometown of coach Mancini.

“It’s very important for Italy and especially for us,” a fan in Jesi with a huge Italian flag told SkyTg24. It is the first major international success for Italian football since winning the 2006 World Cup. Since then, the “Azzurri” have suffered repeated defeats, including a devastating defeat against Spain in the 2012 European Championship final.

“You gave us a magical night,” said the head of the Italian Olympic Committee Giovanni Malago. Italy, where people suffered during the coronavirus crisis and the deep economic recession provoked by the curbs, has greeted the success with hope and relief.

“It’s like living in a dream that you don’t want to wake up from. Italy has awakened from the nightmare of the pandemic, ”said Fan Gianluca Iannilli, 25, who is studying interpreting in Rome.