Italy was quick to celebrate the national side’s nailbiting victory on penalties against England in the Euro 2020 Final at Wembley, with manager Roberto Mancini praised for turning around the fortunes of the team.
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.
La Repubblica’s website showed Mancini and the victorious team celebrating with the headline Europe Is Ours.
A comment piece, using religious language to describe the team, as the “predestined and the redeemed” 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.
The Italian president Sergio Mattarella, in the royal box at Wembley, also singled out Mancini for the team’s impressive performances with a tweet saying: “Great recognition to Roberto Mancini and our players – they have represented Italy well and given honour to sport.”
Mr Mattarella’s enthusiastic support at Wembley was compared by La Gazzetta dello Sport to the exuberance of his predecessor Sandro Pertini whose celebrations in the royal box in Madrid when Italy won the World Cup in 1982 became one of the enduring images of that tournament.
Gazzetta wrote: “Sergio Mattarella became a bit like Sandro Pertini.”
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.
The club retweeted a picture of the former players whose feat was achieved on the same Wembley pitch where the club had lost the European Cup final to Barcelona in 1992 in a game both Mancini and Vialli played in.
Meanwhile, Italy’s national side also praised Mancini for achieving a “blue renaissance” for the national side.
Il Corriere della Sera also alluded to Mancini and Vialli’s previous 1992 disappointment at Wembley, saying: “Mancini and Vialli in tears”, illustrated with a picture of the two men embracing after the penalty shootout and another headline: “The hug of a lifetime.”
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 very visible in the city including on its landmark lighthouse.
Another paper, Il Messaggero, praised the team boss and Donnarumma, saying the goalkeeper had hypnotised Wembley and that Mancini and Donnarumma had “signed off” Italy’s victory.
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.