Italy’s players might have felt exhausted after beating Ireland on Monday but that was nothing compared to the staff, who walked 21 km to a monastery in the middle of the night to celebrate their Euro 2012 quarterfinal berth, reports Reuters from Krakow.
The Camaldolese monks, whose origins are in Italy but who run a monastery 21 km from Italy’s base outside Krakow, met the squad before the tournament and the team staff promised to make a pilgrimage to the monastery if they got out of Group C.
No one expected coach Cesare Prandelli, his backroom team and federation vice-president and former midfielder Demetrio Albertini to take the walk at 3 am local time, shortly after arriving back in Krakow from beating the Irish 2-0 in Poznan.
The federation said in a statement that the group, who first ‘had to deal with the jokes of the players... who went off to bed’, took 3-1/2 hours to complete the walk and returned to the team base at 7 am -- by car.
Italy meet England in the last quarterfinal in Kiev on Sunday when Azzurri fans hope Prandelli will not have another sleepness night -- this time for the wrong reasons.