Conor Clancy Date: 10th July 2021 at 5:32pm
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Matteo Pessina has lifted the lid on the secrets to Italy’s success so far at Euro 2020, with Gli Azzurri having unexpectedly reached the final.

Italy face England at Wembley on Sunday evening in the final looking to win their second European Championship, and Roberto Mancini’s side have performed above expectations to even make it this far.

Pessina, who wasn’t included in Mancini’s initial 26-man squad and came in to replace the injured Lorenzo Pellegrini, has given his thoughts as to why the side have done so well, while also telling some untold stories from behind the scenes.

Speaking about the night Italy beat Spain in the semi-finals and then travelled back to their base at Coverciano in Florence, Pessina explained how he and the rest of the squad were happy to find cream-filled pastries upon their arrival in Tuscany. The tradition of finding filled pastries to end a night out is commonplace in Italy, whereas other countries have traditions of finding kebabs, chips, or pizza to cap off a night of celebrating.

“The return to Coverciano was special,” Pessina said. “At five in the morning, with everyone hugging and signing at the top of their lungs, Berna [Federico Bernardeschi] who has a house at Coverciano made sure that we got back to find trays of cream-filled croissants.

“We went to bed with full stomachs and hearts full of emotions. Then, as is now customary, the next day Loca [Manuel Locatelli] and I went to [Nicolo Barella] Bare’s room, with him being a wine expert, to have a glass of wine and chat with friends.

“I think this is the big success of the team. We’re 26 friends who have played together since the underage national teams and we’re a group of guys who have a lot of fun, laugh, and joke together.”

The Atalanta midfielder has scored two goals at Euro 2020, against Wales and then Austria.