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EURO 2016

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Italy happy with 1-0 loss that sees Irish friends qualify

The Italian team almost seemed delighted after Robbie Brady's 90-minute strike put the Republic of Ireland through to the last 16 of Euro 2016 on Wednesday night.

Italy happy with 1-0 loss that sees Irish friends qualify
Irish and Italian fans celebrated together following Italy's 1-0 defeat on Wednesday evening. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

Following the final whistle, Italy's veteran stopper Gianluigi Buffon – who watch the game from the benches after being rested in favour of PSG stopper Salvatore Sirigu – ran onto the pitch to celebrate with the Irish and congratulated their manager Martin O'Neill by grabbing him in a warm embrace.

It wasn't just Buffon who was pleased for the Irish.

Italy manager Antonio Conte said in a post-match interview that the Irish team had “played the game of their lives.”

“I have to congratulate them because they put a lot into the game. They went for it. Congratulations to the Republic of Ireland, because they really wanted to go through and they were rewarded for that,” he said.

But the goodwill wasn't a one-way street.

Irish fans have so far acquitted themselves impeccably during Euro 2016, drawing plaudits from lovers of the beautiful game for their sportsmanship, camaraderie and famous sense of humour.

Plenty of that was on show on Wednesday evening, as fans of the two teams spent the buildup to the game peacefully together in Lille.


Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

The scenes were a far cry from those witnessed earlier this month when England and Russia fans were involved in bloody battles which saw the streets of Marseilles filled with broken glass and tear gas.

One video taken at the stadium, even shows the Irish applauding the Italian national anthem.

The Republic of Ireland is a country which continues to fascinate Italians. In 2015 some 321,000 of Ireland's 8.6 million global visitors were from Italy. There are currently 8,600 Italians living in the Republic.

In spite of defeat, Italy still topped group E and will face holders Spain in the last 16. 

Ireland will also face tough opposition in the form of hosts France. 

ITALY

Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.


Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?

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