In chaotic scenes at a Sydney club early this morning hundreds of Italian football fans have celebrated an unlikely last minute goal that saw Italy progress through to the last 16 of the Euros in a nail-biter against Croatia.

Fans knocked over tables, threw their beers in the air and shouted with joy, after most had resigned themselves to a loss.

The 5am start and a cold Tuesday morning weren’t enough to stop supporters flocking to Club Marconi, at Bossley Park in south-west Sydney, to support the Azzurri.

In a tight match that finished 1-1 after Italy equalised in the eighth minute of stoppage time, the draw was enough for the Italians progress, while Croatia now await other results to see if they can qualify as a best third-placed team.

The up and down game saw Croatia’s captain Luka Modric miss a penalty shot in the 54th minute with Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma pulling off a diving save to his left, and sending a wave of cheers and sighs of relief through the club.

But the joy quickly turned to shock when Modric hit the opening goal of the game less than a minute later, with a left foot blast into the top of the net after a scramble in the goal mouth.

With three points in group B Italy needed to at least draw with Croatia to advance to the last 16, but kept fans on the edge of their seat to the final minute.


Club patrons grew increasingly tense with despairing fans yelling at the broadcast and watching anxiously. Then in the 98th minute winger Mattia Zaccagni curled the ball into the top right corner of the net.

With seconds left in the match, the club erupted in cheers with flags being waved and beer spilling from raised glasses as they chanted “Italia, Italia, Italia”, and Italy finished second in Group B with four points.

Law student Mia Rose, 20, from Liverpool, who was watching the match from Club Marconi, said: “We were on the brink of a disappointing start to our day, until Zaccagni’s goal which made the 4am wake-up worth it.”

After the match, Azzurri striker Mateo Retegui said: “The important thing today was to draw and get through.”

Team manager Luciano Spalletti added: “We make mistakes that are too trivial. We have superior qualities than what we have seen. We need to do more.”

Italy previously won the 2020 UEFA Euro final which was played at Wembley Stadium, London, in 2021 during lockdown.


Fans are now hoping Italy can remain “campione d’europa” and potentially win the competition again.

Italy now go head to head against Switzerland in the round of 16 match on Sunday at 2am (AEST). The game can be be live streamed and watched on demand at Optus Sport.

Alternatively, for those who prefer to watch the match live and loud the game will be streamed at Club Marconi, Bossley Park.

Main image by Loridana Zangari.