Europe’s football champion returned home at dawn on Monday to the ecstatic cheers of Italians who spent the better part of the night honking horns, setting off fireworks and violating all sorts of coronavirus precautions to celebrate its team’s 3-2 penalty shootout win over host England at Wembley Stadium.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini, his fist pumping the air, and coach Roberto Mancini hoisted the trophy high over their heads as they descended from their Alitalia charter flight at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport. Amid cheers from airport workers, defender Leonardo Spinazzola hopped down the steps on one foot, his other one in a cast after he injured his Achilles tendon earlier in the tournament.
“Grazie Azzurri,” read a banner on the tarmac — a sentiment felt across the country after Italy took home its first major trophy since the 2006 World Cup.
The national team was being…