It came Rome! Italy erupts in celebration after dramatic Euro 2020 success

The rules had been clear. No crowding. No flares. No violence.

Fearing an ugly fallout from the match, whichever way it went, the Rome authorities had stopped public transport at 9pm and begun to cordon off parts of the city centre.

As it happened, the worst that happened as fans marched down Rome’s main street, the Via del Corso, was some knocked-down bins and scooters.

But in the capital, as across Italy, fans took to the streets to celebrate the Euro success against England.

Fans waved flags and chanted football anthems, including Seven Nation Army, which the Italians have adopted as their unofficial anthem. People celebrated wildly, on top of trams, on scooters, and with flares.

But for the first half of the match, things had looked very different.

The 2,500 strong crowd in Europe’s largest fan zone in Piazza del Popolo had fallen silent when Luke Shaw scored for England.

And they remained uncharacteristically subdued for the first half of the game, with only frustrated hand gestures in unison every time the referee made a call for England.

At half time, the DJ in Piazza del Popolo told the quiet crowd, “it’s not over yet”. (Later, he would yell, “I told you we still had life in us”.)

And even the commentators were talking generously about Gareth Southgate – “He could be a hero soon,” one said, and then announced, “We have to keep pushing, we have to believe, right until the end.”

So they did, and after Leonardo Bonucci’s equaliser for Italy, the gloves were off. As were two flares, which were swiftly extinguished by the organisers.

From then on, there were roars every time the ball made its way towards Jordan Pickford, and gasps whenever England looked like they could be about to score.

Fans went back and forth from the bar with giant pizza boxes and beers, as their hopes were raised for the first time.

Italy’s fans celebrate in front of the Duomo cathedral in Milan


After the hush of extra time, the fan zone erupted when Domenico Berardi took his penalty, booing when Harry Kane stepped up.

When Andrea Belotti missed, the piazza fell silent again. But by the time Italy were 3-2 up, the noise was unstoppable. And as Gianlugi Donnarumma parried Bukayo Saka’s shot, half the men in the crowd ripped off their shirts as if in unison.

Italy’s was a rowdy victory, with the DJ leading the crowd in Piazza del Popolo in a rendition of Seven Nation Army, fireworks being set off across the Tiber, and blue confetti erupting over the heads of the crowds in the fan zone.

Yet it was a friendly one, too.

“We’re sorry, we’re really sorry,” said one fan, face painted in tricolore colours, whose friend was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “It’s coming to Rome – Italians do it better”.

“Before the match, they were convinced they’d won, so it’s even more bello for us – but we’re sorry.”

Another, wrapped in a flag, dismissed the English fans’ booing of the Italian national anthem at Wembley, saying it didn’t matter.

“England is a great team, and they were really good,” he said. “But we’re a great group and work together well.”

Leaving the fan zone, they paraded down Via del Corso towards Piazza Venezia, the main square, and symbolic home of Rome.

Italy’s fans celebrate in Rome, Monday, July 12, 2021, after Italy beat England to win the Euro 2020 soccer championships in a final played at Wembley stadium in London. Italy beat England 3-2 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.


Swinging flags, singing Seven Nation Army (again), and lighting the odd flare, they were joined by Romans in cars, on scooters and in taxis blaring their horns and waving flags out of the window.

In the meantime, at 1am, a team of two women began to clean the confetti, pizza boxes and vuvuzelas discarded on the ground in Piazza del Popolo.

“Of course, we’re delighted,” said one. “But now we need to get to work.”


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