Forza Azzurri! The Italian team celebrate their win against England

Credit: Michael Regan/UEFA

Italy’s Euro 2020 victory was more than just about football – it was a dream come true after a nightmare year.

The Italians were among the first to suffer the huge, deadly impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and their fans poured into streets and squares in massive numbers on Sunday night to celebrate a success widely seen as a rebound from the heartbreak failure of not qualifying for the last World Cup.

And the Italian press rejoiced in a famous victory, with one paper boasting that their team were "stronger than the good wishes sent by Queen Elizabeth", after Her Majesty sent the England team a letter of encouragement before the final.

How Italy reacted

"Too beautiful. Italy champions of Europe," declared the front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport, one of Italy’s foremost sports newspapers.

Italians praised coach Mancini for leading the country out of the depths of disappointment when they missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and for guiding them to their first Euro title since 1968.

Mancini has quickly restored the reputation of the Azzurri, who have won four World Cups but humiliatingly failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

A clearly proud and delighted Corriere dello Sport sent a special message on Twitter to the Italian team: "Non tutte le stelle vengono dal cielo. Grazie Azzurri! (Not all stars come from the sky. Thank you Azzurri)."

WEMBLEY È AZZURRA! SIAMO CAMPIONI D’EUROPAAAAA 🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹#ITAENG #ItaliaInghilterra #Euro2020 #Wembley #Nazionale #Azzurri #VivoAzzurro #CorSport pic.twitter.com/lCNKprP4xS

— Corriere dello Sport (@CorSport) July 11, 2021

La Repubblica’s website showed Mancini and the victorious team celebrating with the headline Europe is ours. A comment piece used religious language to describe the team as the "predestined and the redeemed" and singled out Mancini’s coolness and the "bravura" of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as being key to the victory at the expense of Gareth Southgate’s men.

‘Football is coming home. We can sing that now’

La Gazzetta dello Sport said: "Football is coming home. Sure, we can sing that now, even yell it without risking being punished for the crime of lèse-majesté. Because football is at home in Italy, too, and it is a beautiful blue house. 

"And we did it in their home, in front of 60,000 England fans.

"We turned the Three Lions into cubs. We were stronger than the good wishes sent by Queen Elizabeth, than the encouragement of Boris Johnson and the good luck message sent by Tom Cruise. This time, the Mission Impossible was completed by the Italians."

"Champions of Europe," was the headline on Corriere della Sera’s website.

La Stampa newspaper announced: "Italy champions of Europe. The triumph of a team that has moved the country. Monumental Donnarumma, two penalties saved in a row take us to heaven.

There was delirium at the final whistle for Italy

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

"Italy are champions of Europe. How sweet it is to write that, how sweet it is to hear that from our windows around the country. 

"Uncontainable joy – after 18 months of darkness, Italy turns back on the light on the most beautiful night.

"Delirium for the Italian tricolore, a party that promises to go on forever. On the pitch, in the piazzas, in homes. It is an explosion of national joy."

Exuberant scenes across Italy

The streets of Bologna, home to Italy’s largest university, lit up with fireworks and flares as thousands of mostly mask-less, jubilant fans poured into the downtown squares and historical centre, climbing up poles and buildings. 

Former Manchester City boss Mancini’s feat was particularly welcomed in the city of Genoa where he was revered as a player with Sampdoria and with his former strike partner Gianluca Vialli and other former Sampdoria team-mates among his backroom staff for Euro 2020.

Italian fans celebrate with colour around Rome's monuments

Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Genoa’s paper Il Secolo showed wild celebrations in a public square with fans celebrating, saying: "Azzurri (Blues), champions of Europe, the joy of the fans explodes on the squares of Genoa and Savona."

The port city, ironically, is strongly associated with the flag of St George, which is visible in the city including on its landmark lighthouse.

Italy fans party in front of the Colosseum

Credit: Riccardo De Luca/AP

Exuberant scenes of celebration were seen across the country including in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo and Milan’s Piazza del Duomo as the Azzurri added a second European title to their four World Cup victories.

Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president, was in the royal box at Wembley and singled out national team coach Roberto Mancini for the Azzurri’s impressive performances with a tweet: "Great recognition to Roberto Mancini and our players – they have represented Italy well and given honour to sport."

How they reacted in Europe

Italy shattered the English dream. That’s how French newspaper Le Figaro headlined its piece on the game between England and Italy.

France’s sport newspaper L’Equipe ran a large photo of the victorious Italian team with the winner’s trophy on its website with the headline "The happiness!"

Le Parisien announced the Italian win against England in penalties:

🔴 C’EST TERMINÉ ! Les Italiens sont champions d’Europe après avoir battu en finale les Anglais à l’issue des tirs au but ! #ENGITA #ITAENG
➡️ https://t.co/QSucgzg3wi pic.twitter.com/DrrmbZH3jy

— Le Parisien (@le_Parisien) July 11, 2021

"It’s coming to Rome," announced Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung on social media – in English, no less.

Stimmen zum EM-Finale: ‘It’s coming to Rome’ https://t.co/MoXSVArJco

— Süddeutsche Zeitung (@SZ) July 11, 2021