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Champions Italy repay their fans' love

Published: Sunday 9 February 2014, 0.51CET
Sergio Romano described Italy's final win as "wonderful" while Roberto Menichelli said of his team, "the people who know them, love them". rounds up the Azzurri reaction.
by Paolo Menicucci
from Sportpaleis
Champions Italy repay their fans' love
Stefano Mammarella celebrates with the trophy ©Sportsfile
Published: Sunday 9 February 2014, 0.51CET

Champions Italy repay their fans' love

Sergio Romano described Italy's final win as "wonderful" while Roberto Menichelli said of his team, "the people who know them, love them". rounds up the Azzurri reaction.

Roberto Menichelli, Italy coach
It's a great joy, a great satisfaction for me and for the players, who were simply fantastic once again tonight. This victory is very important for the whole of Italian futsal. It was a hard-fought game. We had to be very good to make it look easy, but we were facing an extremely strong side who I want to congratulate for what they did in this tournament.

Tonight we did everything well: defending, attacking, set pieces – everything. That is the result of the hard work we have done in recent years. [Gabriel] Lima played well, but you know I never talk about individual players because the group is our main strength.

I always try to work as hard as I can. In life it doesn't matter what people think about you, but what you do. This is certainly my biggest victory, but this team gave me several things to be happy about and I'm not talking only about great results. They are nice guys, the people who know them, love them. I'm not surprised that so many people came to support us today. They were crucial for us, an extra motivation for the players.

Sergio Romano, Italy defender
I still can't understand my emotions now, I need a bit of time. It's something impossible to describe. Maybe we played even better than the previous games. We didn't make mistakes and we fully deserved to win. We started with a handicap with that [3-2] defeat against Slovenia, but, ironically, that game was very helpful for our success. It's wonderful, absurd.

It's absurd that we were put under pressure less than in the games against Croatia and Portugal because our approach was perfect. We took the lead. We were ahead at the break, we defended well in the second half and we could also have killed off the game, but we are extremely happy because we knew that we had a great chance this year. We knew we were in good form and we deserved the win

The last minute is modified in futsal, it felt at least like three minutes tonight. But tonight it was difficult for our opponents because we really wanted this victory

I haven't talked to my dad [who attends all his international games] yet – I hope he is still alive after all these emotions. He must be so happy. At Under-21 level I played a [UEFA European Under-21 Futsal Tournament] final against Russia and we lost it in a semi-tragic way, so tonight it's a double satisfaction for me. It's sweet revenge.

Gabriel Lima, Italy captain
I'm here to stress once again that our squad was the key to our success here. Not because I'm the captain but because this is the only truth. Look at Murilo, who was the last player to be added to the squad and today he scored the winner in the final. I improved my performances in the final stages of the tournament, I understood my team-mates needed me to play better and I did.

We were very intelligent today, very patient because we knew that sooner or later we would have chances to score. At the break we said not to give up until the final whistle, we were very focused and the coach allowed us to celebrate only with two seconds left. The history of Italian football is like this. Just think about the 1982 FIFA World Cup when Italy started with three draws and then became champions. When playing with the right fighting spirit and heart we can reach any objective.

Stefano Mammarella, Italy goalkeeper
It was huge. Climbing those stairs to receive the trophy after beating a team like Russia, who were considered as favourites by everybody, was just incredible. Only a great group can win a tournament like this. The first time I looked at the scoreboard there were only six seconds left. Time was never passing, but you know that a final is like that.

It's incredible. We were facing a very strong side tonight, but we had more troubles against Croatia and Portugal. Tonight we started at full speed and never gave up until the end. We really thrashed them and fully deserved to win.

Last updated: 14/01/16 12.15CET

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