Rome Erupts with Glee with World Cup Win Crowds of happy fans crowding central Rome reacted with boisterous cheering and celebrations after Italy beat France in a shootout to decide the World Cup final in Berlin, Germany. The win is likely to dull the pain of recent match-fixing scandals that have rocked the soccer-crazed nation.
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Rome Erupts with Glee with World Cup Win

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Rome Erupts with Glee with World Cup Win

Rome Erupts with Glee with World Cup Win

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, Host:

Right after the end of the game, we caught up with NPR's Rob Gifford in Rome.

ROB GIFFORD: I'm standing somewhere in the shadow of the Coliseum, the great Roman amphitheatre in the center of Rome. And it feels like the whole of Rome is here with me. There is a sea of red, white and green flags and they've been watching their modern day gladiators fighting it out with the French in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. And Italy won on penalties. It was one each at the end of normal time and Italy came through, so the crowd has gone absolutely crazy all around me. And I think the Italian captain, Fabio Cannavaro, is about to lift the World Cup on the huge screen that they put up here just below the Roman Coliseum.

ELLIOTT: Rob, as the game went into overtime and then the shootout, were the fans you were with getting a little worried?

GIFFORD: Yes, it was a penalty shootout and it was just nail-biting stuff. There were three or four guys next to me who couldn't even watch. They were just turning the other way. And everybody was thinking - lots of people thought that Italy was going to lose, actually, but just before the end, the French captain got sent off. Zinedine Zidane, the French hero, who had come out of retirement to play in this tournament, he got sent off and I think the psychological - the psychological boost to the Italians of being one man up maybe just pushed them through the penalties.

ELLIOTT: Italian soccer has been engulfed in some kind of scandal lately involving game fixing. This probably put that scandal on the back burner, I would think.

GIFFORD: Okay, he's just about to lift the World Cup, if you can hold on for one second. And now the Italian team has gathered on the stage right as I'm speaking to you and the head of the - the head of the World Cup Association, I think, yes, he's about to present the World Cup. He's handed it over. You can probably hear. Fabio Cannavaro, the Italian captain who is playing his 100th game for Italy in this World Cup final. And I'm having some (unintelligible) and the water that is being sprayed up into the air as he lifts the World Cup, the great prize of world soccer and kisses it and passes it on to his teammates. Italy are the World Cup champions, 2006.

ELLIOTT: NPR's Rob Gifford in Rome. Thanks so much, Rob. Have a great time tonight.

GIFFORD: Thanks. I think I'm going to be jumping into the Trevi Fountain with these guys. Talk to you later.

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