Huge celebrations are being held in Italy after the national team's victory over France at the World Soccer Cup championship in Germany.
Italians woke up this morning, exhausted from the partying but ecstatic and proud about their team's victory over France in Berlin. Many say they did not go to bed and still cannot believe it.
Hundreds of thousands of delirious fans celebrated much of the night and woke up to newspaper headlines reading: "Italy of Champions" and "It's all true. World Champions." It was Italy fourth world cup win, second only to Brazil.
Within minutes of a tense penalty shootout, jubilant Italians across the nation took to the streets to celebrate. They yelled from atop their cars waving the Italian tricolor as fireworks were being set off in the piazzas. Many jumped into the fountains. Others stripped off their clothes.
Italians had been waiting for this cup for 24 years.
This young Italian says it is difficult to describe her feelings. She says the win is incredible, especially for young people, because it is the first World Cup win for them.
Some clashes with police were reported in a central Rome piazza, near the French embassy.
The victorious Italian team will be returning Monday. The mayor of Rome said this city would be giving the players the tribute they deserve, at a massive celebration Monday at Circus Maximus. More than a million people are expected to join.
Italian politicians have united in showering praise on the Italian team. The prime minister said it was a victory won after a fight until the last drop of blood. The Italian president thanked the team for restoring a sense of national pride.
Italians love soccer, the national sport, and their team's victory brought fans much needed relief and joy after a massive match-fixing scandal involving top league clubs.