‘We conquered Wembley’: Italian press reacts to Euro 2020 victory

  • ‘The cup has returned home,’ says Corriere della Sport
  • Roberto Mancini hailed for reviving the national team

Italy had fans on edge during several games of the European Championship tournament, but no match was more nailbiting than the final against England at Wembley.

The anxiety descended after England caught Italy off-guard with a brilliant goal soon after kick-off. But then fear turned into exuberant celebrations across the country after Italy secured victory, lifting the European Championship trophy for the first time since 1968.

Headlines in the Italian press on Monday ranged from “We conquered Wembley” to “Italy, you’re the Queen”.

Gazzetta della Sport said: “It was an unforgettable night in London. After two minutes we were behind. Then [Leonardo] Bonucci equalised … the team knew how to recover a match that seemed lost, as only the greatest teams know.”

Enrico Currò, a journalist for La Repubblica wrote: “In the home of England, which is on a perpetual fast since the 1966 World Cup, and in the deafening theatre filled beyond the limits put in place by Covid, the Azzuri won their second European title.”

The Italian press took as much joy out of beating England on home turf as they did about teasing English fans about their “It’s Coming Home” chant.

Bonucci said on Sunday night that the chant had galvanised the team. “We heard it day in, day out ever since Wednesday night, since the Denmark game, that the cup would be coming home to London. Sorry for them but actually the cup will be taking a nice flight to Rome.”

Germany's newspapers are mostly expressing sympathy with England's unfortunate penalty takers this morning. "Once again, no happy end for the motherland of football", said Bild's chief sports writer Torsten Rumpf. "Because in the end Southgate failed as a coach in the Euros final against Italy, and bet on the wrong penalty takers". Rumpf nonetheless hails Southgate as a "real gentleman, an appealing figure".

But footage of fans pushing through barriers to get inside Wembley and fights breaking out around the stadium did not go unnoticed in Germany. "One thing was especially surprising", wrote Süddeutsche Zeitung: "That preventative measures were more lax than at tournaments in recent years. The vicinity of the stadium was closed off, as it has become practice long before the start of the pandemic."

"These pictures are embarrassing for the FA, because the Euros are meant to be a high security event, and they come across as disastrous in view of the planned bid for the World Cup 2030", writes Der Spiegel, also noting the persistent booing of visiting teams at Wembley: "The standard behaviour among parts of the European supporters has been problematic throughout these Euros".

The number of supporters allowed to attend the final in spite of rising infection rates in Britain had drawn criticism from German politicians in the run-up to the match. On the night, state broadcaster ZDF spoke of a "capitulation before the virus". "The virus celebrated a joyous festival of football in London", wrote Die Zeit. "Let's wait for the Wembley variant".

"What would have happened if the English had brought the cup home?", asks Tagesspiegel. "After Brexit there would have been no restraint from the island nation, English arrogance would have been hard to bear for the rest of Europe." Philip Oltermann

Indeed, the trophy was already in the Italian capital by 7am CET. “It’s ours, the cup has returned home,” said Corriere della Sport.

The joy in Italy is a far cry from the despair that enveloped the country when the national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the first such failure since 1958. The coach, Roberto Mancini, has been widely credited with reversing the national side’s fortunes. Tuttosport declared him a “magnificent visionary”.

“He is the reconstructor of a national team that dissolved on the cursed night of 13 November 2017, and rebuilt it in three years,” the newspaper said. “Mancini changed the mentality, the game, the perspective of an Italy that is madly beautiful and therefore unique.”

Moreover, Mancini created a side that “believed in itself and was never afraid to push its limits further and further”.

The squad is now resting before bringing the trophy to the president, Sergio Mattarella, who was among the spectators at Wembley, on Monday evening. The players will be joined by Matteo Berrettini, the first Italian tennis player to reach a singles final at Wimbledon. Berettini was also there to cheer on Italy at Wembley.

The team will also meet the prime minister, Mario Draghi, who said the side, led by Mancini, “showed an extraordinary spirit”.


Angela Giuffrida in Rome

The GuardianTramp

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