Mon. Oct 18th, 2021

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For Italian fans, now is the moment to atone for haunting failure to qualify for last World Cup

2 min read

With all the hype around England it’s easy to forget there’s another team playing in the final – and Italy’s fans are just as passionate about their team winning.

They are singing “Football’s coming Rome”, modifying the words of the England supporters’ ubiquitous chant ahead of the Euro 2020 final.

“1-0” to Italy, says Andrea, the waiter serving us our early morning coffee.

“I actually think it could be 3-0,” he says, echoing the confidence of fans we spoke to in Rome. But when pushed, he does admit he’s a little bit scared of England.

The confidence may come from Italy’s track-record of being better in tournament football than England.

But the memory of 2018 when the country failed to qualify for the World Cup still haunts here. At the time it was unthinkable. Now is the moment to recover, they say.

Whereas England will have tens of thousands of fans in Wembley to motivate them, most Italian supporters will watch from afar.

Two fan zones in Rome will accommodate around 3,000 people. Tickets for places went on sale at midnight and were snapped up in seconds.

But other cities have banned public gatherings because of COVID, and Italy’s interior minister has advised people to watch from home.

The Sunday papers here are showing no signs of doing anything but be prepared for victory headlines tomorrow.

Sports paper Corriere dello Sport using the words of a Pavarotti song to say “Un amore cosi’ grande”, such big love for Italy.

Rome-daily Il Messaggero says: “L’Europa tifa Italia”, Europe for Italy.

A sentiment echoed this weekend by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who said her heart is with Italy.

There will be plenty of support for Italy across the European Union but England will be hoping the presence of the thousands of fans inside Wembley Stadium will do the trick.

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