(Rome) The players of the “Nazionale” crowned European champions savored the heroes of a last-minute walkabout at the start of Monday evening, perched on a double-decker bus and cheered by thousands of Italians who had invaded the streets of the capital.
Updated July 12. 2021
Italy celebrated all day the triumphant return of their victorious team on Sunday evening against England in London, a victorious Euro which acts as a bandage for the country after a painful period.
Perched on a blue double-decker bus, the Italian players, euphoric but visibly tired, waved their cups in the direction of their supporters, who immortalized this historic moment with their mobile phones and waved Italian flags.
Throughout the day, the champions had moved in a closed bus with tinted windows to avoid gatherings, circulating in front of fans all the same amassed without putting on their masks too much behind metal barriers. But the authorities granted them a belated walkabout in due form.
“It’s coming to Rome” screamed with pleasure in London the defender Leonardo Bonucci, author of the equalizing goal before transforming his shot on goal in an unbreathable final at Wembley Stadium (1-1 ap, 3-2 pens). The Italian hero thus parodied the stainless pop anthem of the English, “Football’s coming home” (“Football is coming home”), to the delight of the tifosi.
And it was his sidekick Giorgio Chiellini, captain of the Azzurri, who held up the trophy in the London night, before presenting it to his supporters when he got off the plane in Rome at dawn on Monday, wearing a crown facing to the crowd who came to welcome the winners.
Leonardo Spinazzola, the unfortunate hero of this Euro after his serious Achilles tendon injury against Belgium in the quarter-finals, jumped the steps of the plane and crossed the tarmac leaning on his crutches, to cheers media and airport personnel taking pictures.
The Azzurri then rested in a luxury hotel before being received by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, 79, who had traveled to London to encourage them.
The opportunity for Giorgio Chiellini, the captain of the Italian team, to dedicate the victory to Davide Astori, the Italian international of Fiorentina, who died in 2018 at the age of 31 of a heart defect, after a match of the league.
“We would have liked to have him here with us,” he slipped. “We are not here because we scored an extra penalty, but because we believe in the values of friendship”, he added “it’s a group success”
The team, as well as Matteo Berrettini, the Wimbledon finalist, was also welcomed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, in the presence of the almost complete government.
At Wembley, with devoted supporters and a favorable scenario with a goal from the start, England saw themselves as too good and Italy took advantage of it. “We heard day after day […] that the Cup would return to London, home. Sorry for them, but actually the Cup is going to have a nice trip to Rome. It’s for all Italians, everywhere in the world, for them, for us,” Bonucci said.
Throughout the peninsula, the Italians celebrated the first title of the Nazionale since the 2006 World Cup, its second European title after that of 1968, in a concert of horns and fog horns and in a cloud of smoke.
The image of the selection, quadruple world champion (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006), had been seriously damaged by its absence from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, for which it had failed to qualify. But the nightmare is forgotten and coach Roberto Mancini’s Italy will be among the favorites for the 2022 World Cup next year in Qatar.
“It’s a renaissance for Italian football,” said Bonucci.
It is also a tremendous breath of happiness for a country which has recorded nearly 128,000 deaths since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year and a half ago.
“We are happy to have given joy and hope to the Italians after such a difficult period,” Mancini said on Monday.
The former Lazio, Inter Milan and Manchester City manager has restored the confidence of a battered side, transforming them into an attractive, playful and cheerful formation. Captain Chiellini and his accomplices have become true “Fratelli d’Italia” (“Brothers of Italy”), like this anthem they sing at the top of their lungs at every match.
“We have an exceptional group, we love each other, we know where we come from,” noted goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, decisive in London and named best player of the tournament.
Their pleasure was shared by the tifosi. “My daughter is three months old and I will remember her all my life. All my life,” Michele Scarpa told AFP jubilantly.