England's negativity and Andrea Pirlo's spoon feature prominently in today's papers
The devilishly handsome model in the Zegna menswear advert may be too smouldering and intense to express much in the way of emotion, but elsewhere in La Repubblica joy is unconfined. Underneath their masthead, the Italy goalkeeper Gigi Buffon can be seen celebrating Italy's Euro 2012 quarter-final penalty shootout win over England with team-mates Antonio Cassano and Daniele Di Rossi, among others.
"The Azzuri command," announces the paper, going on to say that "justice was done from 11 metres despite Riccardo Montolivo's error", a reference to the Milan player whose nerves got the better of him after Mario Balotelli and Steven Gerrard had stepped up and converted.
"Bravo Buffon," they cheer, adding that "victory when it arrives is not good for the heart", not least because of the early Montolivo miss and subsequent "scavetto" or "spoon" penalty from Andrea Pirlo which will have put the heart crossways in Italian natives from Turin to Palermo and beyond. "The atmosphere enveloping the team right now feels strong and unsurpassed," states the paper, which believes it would have been "absurd and unjust to be eliminated by an England team that thought only of destroying". Only time will tell if they're feeling so emboldened in the wake of their mouth-watering appointment with a certain Deutsche Fussballnationalmannschaft on Thursday night.
"ENORMI!" ("Huge!") screams the one-word headline on Corriere dello Sport which appears over a photo of Italy's overjoyed players sprinting from the halfway line after Alessandro Diamanti had won the match with the last kick of the shootout. "At the European Championship, Italy dominated England and won on penalties," reads the sub-headline. "We are in a memorable semi-final thanks to Pirlo's 'spoon', which gave confidence to the Azzurri. The country will be awash with enthusiasm on Thursday when we have to take on Germany for a place in the final."
"If I had to choose the image of the game I would say Pirlo's penalty," Daniele De Rossi told the Italian journalists, who compared it to a similarly "spectacular and crazy" spot-kick once taken by Francesco Totti once upon a time. On a more sombre note for his compatriots, De Rossi went on to reveal that he's "not optimistic" he'll be fit for the semi-final, because he's got a sciatic nerve problem that's giving him gyp.
Corriere dello Sport also reveals that, no sooner had Diamanti fired his side into the semi-final, the Italian president Giorgio Napolitano had been on the blower to congratulate all involved. "What a great thrill," he enthused, adding that "this well deserved success" reminded him of his country's World Cup win in Berlin in 1996. "Italy really dominated this match and I would have called even if they'd lost," he said.
"Oh, my God. What a submissive England team, all defence and counterattacks," sneers Gazzetto dello Sport, pointing out that with England taking on – or refusing to take on – Italy at what was once their own famously boring game means "the world has been turned on its head".
"Italy, now we are at the OK corral!" roars German newspaper Bild, which makes you wonder which particular battle they'd have alluded to if England had prevailed. "Italy are in the semi-finals against Jogi's boys," they announce, revealing that, having watched to see who their next opponents would be in their team hotel in Gdansk, it's now time for Germany's players to pack, up sticks and move to Warsaw for Thursday's "duel between two football giants".
While it would be national stereotyping of the laziest kind to suggest that Italy are almost certainly the country most likely to pitch up at a gunfight with a knife, Germany will at the very least need to be wary of Andrea Pirlo arriving armed with his now famous spoon.