Euro 2020: Italy unveils mascot of national football team

"Fourth Oscar" for Rambaldi's puppy mascot who will accompany the Italian team in the Euro 2020 campaign.

Italy has unveiled the mascot of the national football team, a Maremmano-Abruzzese sheepdog puppy designed by the late Oscar-winning Italian special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi.

The design for the friendly mascot, who wears the kit of the national team, was drawn up several years before Rambaldi passed away in 2012.

Rambaldi had given a sketchbook with drawings of the puppy mascot to Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), in 2007.

In the accompanying notes Rambaldi wrote that he had chosen the breed of dog because it has "great courage, decision-making skills, is typically Italian and its history is intimately linked to the ancient history of our land and its people."

Carlo Rambaldi. © Fondazione Culturale Carlo Rambaldi

Rambaldi, best remembered for creating the E.T. character, also wrote that the dog was known for its initiative, competitiveness, loyalty, and for being a team player.

Victor and Daniela Rambaldi, son and daughter of the special effects genius and holders of the Carlo Rambaldi Foundation, collaborated in bringing the mascot to fruition.

"Today we symbolically give Carlo Rambaldi the fourth Oscar" - said Gravina - "and to the Italians a lot of sweetness."

Rambaldi won Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects for King Kong in 1977, Alien in 1980, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1983.

Rambaldi's original designs for the mascot will be displayed at the Casa Azzurri FIGC headquarters for the duration of the Euro 2020 football championship which kicks off in Rome on Friday night when Italy faces Turkey.