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It's Coming Rome! Italy erupts with joy over Euro 2020 win

Italians take to the streets to celebrate victory as Italy crowned European champions.

There were scenes of jubilation in Rome and across Italy last night after the Azzurri beat England 3-2 on penalties to win the Euro 2020 football tournament for the first time in 53 years.

Sunday night's match in Wembley Stadium finished 1-1 after extra time, with England getting off to a dream start thanks to a goal by Luke Shaw, followed by an equaliser from Italy's Leonardo Bonucci in the second half.

The match was played in front of a crowd of about 67,000, most of whom were English fans hoping to celebrate the team's first international trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

However it was not to be England's night, with the Azzurri keeping 66 per cent possession of the ball over the 120 nail-biting minutes, culminating in a penalty shoot-out victory.

Leonardo Bonucci celebrates his goal

Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma - who went on to clinch Player of the Tournament - made two saves against England's Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit the post, as Federico Bernardeschi, Bonucci and Domenico Berardi all hit the back of the net.

Italian manager Roberto Mancini, who guided the Azzurri to Euro victory after Italy's disappointment of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, said after the game: "It was impossible even to think about this, but the guys were extraordinary." 

"I don’t have words for them, this is a magnificent group" - an emotional Mancini added - "We were great, we conceded an early goal and had some problems but then we dominated.

Italian coach Roberto Mancini in Wembley

An exultant Bonucci - who roared "It's coming to Rome" directly into the television cameras on the pitch - told reporters: "It's the most beautiful night of my career."

Among the Italian supporters in the stadium was the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, who said in statement:"Great gratitude to Roberto Mancini and our players who have represented Italy well and have brought honour to sports."

The normally demure Mattarella celebrated Bonucci's goal with a cheer and his arms in the air, in an uncharacteristic image embraced in Italy as a symbol of the country's Euro triumph, its first since 1968.

President Mattarella celebrates Bonucci's goal. Photo ANSA

Also present was Rome tennis champion Matteo Berrettini, fresh from his success of coming second in the Wimbledon finals, the first Italian to do so.

Back in the homeland the response was euphoric, with Italians pouring into squares and streets across the country in a cacophony of singing, air horns and fireworks, with some fans celebrating by jumping into fountains.

For many Italians the victory is being hailed as a symbol of resurgence, a hopeful sign of better days ahead for a nation whose spirits were crushed by the psychological and economic strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"A victory and a feeling of pride, after the worst period of our lives" reads today's headline of Italy's newspaper of record Corriere della Sera.

Italy are the Euro 2020 champions

Meanwhile the plane carrying the Euro 2020 champions touched down in Rome's Fiumicino airport early this morning.

When Mancini and Italian captain Giorgio Chiellini appeared at the top of plane's steps a huge cheer erupted from the airport staff.

A bus then took the players to the Hotel Parco dei Principi, near Villa Borghese, where a crown-wearing Chiellini led the Azzurri off the bus to applause from screaming fans gathered outside.

Later today the team will be welcomed home formally by President Mattarella and Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, with the partying in Italy set to continue for many days ahead.  Cover photo EuroSport

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