Rome, Italy – La Gazzetta dello Sport, the main sports newspaper in Italy, carries a title on Saturday which reads “W L’Italia”.
Although they mean “Go Italy”, the W also stands for Wimbledon and Wembley due to Italy’s chances of winning two trophies in London on Sunday.
The first, Matteo Berrettini, 25, faces world number one Noivak Djokovic in the men’s Wimbledon final.
Later today, the men’s football team will face England at Wembley Stadium, with the hopes of winning their second European Championship trophy.
Rome mayor Virginia Raggi had offered to open the Olympic stadium and allow 16,000 fans inside for the final, but the idea was rejected by authorities, fearing that such a move would further propagate the coronavirus.
Milan, meanwhile, decided not to see him in public due to the pandemic.
Italy has reported nearly 4.3 million cases of the coronavirus, including more than 127,000 deaths.
However, two fan zones have settled in the city – in Piazza del Popolo and the Roman Forum. Admission to both is via tickets which can be purchased for free from midnight on Saturday.
On Saturday, the atmosphere in downtown Rome was both festive and calm, as people strolled around looking for a place to reserve a seat and watch the game on Sunday night.
“We will watch the game in a bar that has a big screen in the street because it is the final, we want to cheer with other people especially after the pandemic when we couldn’t be outside”, Antonio Martino, 37 years old, and Eros Cesano, 36, told Al Jazeera.
âWe watched all the games at home with friends and family, but tomorrow is different. We are pleased.
“This game has a different feeling than the 2006 World Cup final [Italy won 5-3 on penalties against France]. It’s a different feeling indeed. But we think we can beat England. You have to win to forget this year.
“It would have been amazing if we could have the chance to travel through Europe, but at least we are in Rome and it is also amazing.”
La nuova Piazzetta restaurant, located near the Colosseum, is right in front of the Shamrock Pub, a sports bar where all Euro 2020 matches were broadcast.
The restaurant won’t be showing the game live, but it expects a healthy flow of customers, staff told Al Jazeera, because “the pub across the road will be packed and people will have to. eat something, hoping to come to our tables “.
Shamrock Pub staff told Al Jazeera they’ve been taking reservations for the finale for a week now. They have refused all reservations but still expect a full house.
“If Italy wins, I don’t think we will be able to close the square until morning,” said a staff member.
At the Puma store in central Via del Corso, all official team jerseys are sold out. It wasn’t just the locals who bought them. Tourists have flocked to buy them, staff said.
âItaly can do it. The media overestimate England and make it look stronger than Italy, âEmanuele, a 16-year-old from Catania, told Al Jazeera.
âIt could work in our favor. If we win, and we will win, we will celebrate more than anyone can imagine right now. I will not be in Rome for the final but I will watch it at home in Catania.
As the number of tourists declined, leading to a decrease in souvenir sales, the owner of a small shop facing the Trevi Fountain said she sold all the t-shirts with an Italian flag.
âThere is great enthusiasm among the audience. We forgot to miss the World Cup in 2018. What’s important now is winning on Sunday, that’s what matters, âAndrea Laurenti, a 42-year-old taxi driver, told Al Jazeera.
âDue to the pandemic, there aren’t many tourists but it doesn’t matter for the game. I will be working on Sunday morning because it’s my shift but I would not have worked on Sunday morning. Sunday night because of the game.
“But I’m telling you, it will be really hard to find a taxi in Rome during the game because we will all be watching it no matter what.”