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Italy, champions of Europe — after failing to even qualify for the 2018 World Cup, how does that sound, and how about seeing the Azzurri lift the European Championship trophy?
[ MORE: 3 things we learned: England – Italy ]
Roberto Mancini took the job just weeks before that summer’s tournament in Russia with every idea and moment geared toward returning Italy to the top of the footballing world, and on Sunday he did just that as these champions came back from a goal down in regular-time, as well as a penalty kick behind in the penalty shootout, to beat England on their home field at Wembley Stadium.
To the victor(s) go the spoils, as they say. The spoils for winning EURO 2020? Soon-to-be 37-year-old Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini was first to lift the shiny, silver trophy adorned with green, white and red ribbons as fireworks rose and confetti fell at midfield.
As part of an arrangement between the two governments, 1,000 Italian fans were allowed to enter England and bypass quarantine protocols to attend the EURO 2020 final, along with a few thousand other Italian expats (presumably) already residing in England. The short trip home will surely be one they will never forget.
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VIDEO: Celebrations underway as Italy lift EURO 2020 trophy originally appeared on NBCSports.com