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European Football Championship || Thousands Celebrate Italian National Team In Rome

The new European champions are back in Rome: Thousands of people welcomed and cheered the team. Prime Minister Draghi said: "You made history."

The Italian national soccer team presented their EM trophy to the cheering fans back home. The team of coach Roberto Mancini drove in a bus without a roof through the streets of the Italian capital and celebrated the triumph together with the fans. Thousands of spectators lined the streets and cheered the team. People waved Italian flags, sang and jumped, the players celebrated the title with a shared Laola with their fans.

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Italy had become European champions for the second time on Sunday evening with a 3-2 on penalties against England. After returning to Italy, the team was welcomed by President Sergio Mattarella. Together with their trophies and a huge Italian flag, the athletes posed with the President. "It's an honor to be here," said national coach Mancini. "This victory is proof that you can make dreams come true that previously seemed unattainable if you firmly believe in what you are doing."

Captain Giorgio Chiellini also emphasized the strength of the team. "This group never lost its soul even in difficult moments," said the 36-year-old at the reception in the garden of the Quirinal Palace in Rome. "Such a result can only be achieved with teamwork."

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After the reception, the team went to Prime Minister Mario Draghi . He congratulated the team on winning the title: "You made history. You made us proud and united in the celebration," said the Prime Minister. "Sport unites people and lets us dream. You are role models, also for us."

The moment, the second of pure happiness, in which Italy became European champions, passed me by: Donnarumma holds. It just keeps. Then, the camera catches it, he takes a few steps, looks serious. I see Donnarumma, but I don't understand any of it, I'm still thinking about Jorginho, who always honks his penalties into the goal so casually. How could he shoot? He just had to hit! But Gianluigi Donnarumma, the pictures prove it, has just held. After a few seconds the certainty swashes over me like waves of a sea, with increasing force: Italy is European champion! Coach Mancini cries, captain Chiellini raises the trophy in the sky. Siiiiiiiii !!!!!

What would I like to be in Italy now! Bathe happily drunk in a fountain on the Piazza del Popolo in Rome. In Naples, with an Italy flag around his neck, rattling through the narrow streets on a motorino . In Florence, on the Piazzale Michelangelo, looking at the celebrating city in front of me. I am in Hamburg. I was vaccinated for the first time just before the game. At least in my Italy jersey.

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And now I don't really know whether the vaccine is already firing or whether it is really so nice to become European champion. Because it feels incredibly good. Once again: Italy is European champion !!! The first time since 1968. After the last triumph of the Italian national team, the world championship title in 2006, I was happy for weeks, really happy inside. If I had a bad day, I said to myself: Well, we're still world champions after all. I was 13. Today I'm 27 and I know that I'll be happy for weeks. I also know that there are people who think that's completely stupid. It's clear: I don't get a winner's bonus, I'm not allowed to pick up Leonardo Spinazzola, I'm not friends with Manuel Locatelli and Matteo Pessina, although I would really like to be, and I wasn't in the stadium (again, I'm very happy about that). In short: I have nothing to do with people my age in the confetti rain at Wembley StadiumRoar Notti  Magiche. Or is it?

It was the perfect European championship. It was the perfect team. It was the perfect trainer. The first three wins in the group stage brought the Azzurri the ease, aroused the euphoria and the desire to keep up with this team in the Tifosi. With the curls of the cheering Manuel Locatelli, after his two goals against Switzerland. With Ciro Immobile, who bats against the post, who rushes past the ball too late, who sighs and curses, but who brushes his blond hair from his forehead after every missed scoring chance and strikes it off again with his legs apart. With Jorginho, who ironed out every mistake made by his teammates so elegantly and with foresight. With Lorenzo Insignes turning shot, the tir a gir , which is now known throughout Europe. With Marco Verratti, with whom I would also like to be friends, not only because he throws himself inimitably at the feet of the ball-carrying opponent and in this way steals balls quite successfully and brazenly. With Leonardo Spinazzola, of course, who is playing the tournament of his life and who, grinning continuously, is the first to pick up his medal at Wembley.

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And with Matteo Pessina, who keeps a diary and publishes it on Instagram. After the Spain game, he writes that the team did not return from London to Coverciano, the training center near Florence, until around 5 a.m. Federico Bernardeschi, who had scored an important penalty a few hours earlier, had organized cornetti alla crema for everyone, then everyone was full and probably fell asleep happily at the end of the day. The next evening, Pessina went with his buddy Locatelli (Loca) into the room of midfielder Nicolò Barella, who knows a lot about crying. There they would have had a glass. Pessina writes that this is the big secret: "We are 26 friends." The European Championship victory proved that this is true.

Italy has a team without a star, but a real team. Is it childish to be happy with these players from Germany? At most Chiellinian! Because in truth we all want to be like him. Chiellini is not a defender, but a way of life. See everything a little more loosely. Be a little funny, a little serious, do the job as well as possible and have as much fun as possible. Try it with Chiellinigkeit! He has already won the semi-final against Spain, a game of suffering. When he squeezed Jordi Alba when he tossed a coin before the penalty shoot-out, lifted it slightly and slapped it gently on the cheek. And shortly afterwards, when he grabbed Manuel Locatelli, who was the first to shoot, comforted him, hugged him and only let go when Italy won the penalty shoot-out. This much is certain: With Chiellini, 36 years old, who may have played his last international match yesterday, we can look forward to it. And of course with Roberto Mancini , the coach who is in the middle of the winning photo for a reason. Without him, this team would certainly not exist.

Oh yes, it was a terrible game, by the way. As terrible as only a finale can be terrible. Luke Shaw, second minute, England 1-0. Italy is staggering, everything is stuck and ailing, Wembley is shaking. When Jorginho, Italy's best player, lay down on the floor 20 minutes later with an injury, I actually wanted to turn off the TV. But the Azzurri, who have not yet fallen behind, only have to adjust to England. Activate invincibility mode.

Roberto Mancini is faded in, he draws his eyes together, frowns, his lips move as if he were whispering the invincibility spell. As if he could influence the game from the sidelines. He can: Italy develops chances, free kicks, the explosive Federico Chiesa, one of the best players of the evening, keeps breaking out. In the 67th minute, after a corner, the ball falls at Leonardo Bonucci's feet, it pokes in, goal, finally! Wembley is silent. Then Chiesa has to go out injured, but the magic continues, somehow you now have the feeling that Italy will win. No goal falls in front, clear the back, jostle, pull, behead, defend Chiellini and his colleague Bonucci, about whom he once said he knew him better than his wife, everything gone. They don't know yet that hours later they will lie between them in the hotel room bed together with the European Championship trophy. Or do you know?

Extra time goes by, penalty shoot-out: the invincible win. And I have to de-dramatize this text a little for general reassurance.

Then there is Donnarumma, there is probably nothing more to say about him, except: Congratulations on being named the best player of the tournament, how nice that you were born, only 22 years ago, have fun, the world of football is yours. Bonucci yells " It's coming to Rome! " Into the cameras, Chiesa calls his mom on the square, Locatelli his girlfriend, Pessina is concentrating on cutting out the goal net. That's them, my amici.

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In Italy they believe that when everything goes particularly badly, Italians can get the best out of themselves. That is why some say Italy played such a good European Championship because the country was hit so badly by the Covid pandemic. Has the Italian national team, as their coach and some players emphasized again and again, also won for the ailing country? Hardly likely. It was simply the best team in the tournament. And yet: by now at the latest, the European Championship victory coincides with the time that politicians in Italy often call ripartenza , the time of the restart. I want to believe in that. May it please the Italians and all those who believe in Italy. It could also be a ripartenza in terms of sport because next year is the World Cup again.

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