Leighton Buzzard-based Italian businessmen praise England's brave effort after Gareth Southgate's side suffer penalties heartbreak in Euro 2020 final
'I'm a big fan of Gareth Southgate. He's got an amazingly talented young squad. Watch out Qatar!'
Two Leighton Buzzard business owners of Italian heritage have praised England s football team after Sunday's penalty shootout heartache in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
Paulo Benfeito and Gennaro Borrelli are full of admiration for Gareth's Southgate's team following the defeat to Italy and say they are confident of seeing England having success in next year's World Cup in Qatar.
Amore Pizzeria backed the Three Lions with their It's Coming Home Pizza [a pepperoni St George's flag feast], which was enjoyed by football fans at the weekend.
The Hockliffe Street company also supplied a surprise patriotic cupcake with each It's Coming Home delivery, while some staff donned red and white face paint to show their support.
Paulo Benfeito, owner of Amore Pizzeria, said: "It was a really good atmosphere and all the staff were really happy.
"The customers were loving the pizza and it went really well. We were delivering the It's Coming Home cupcakes, and the only snag was when we delivered them to an Italian family we got a few funny looks!
"The delivery drivers were asking customers what the result was. We were really behind England!"
After a close 1-1 battle and ultimately a 3-2 penalty shootout defeat, the staff are now hoping that England will do even better in next year's World Cup in Qatar.
Paulo added: "We hope that next year the World Cup final will be between Italy and England.
"We are an Italian restaurant backing the English - but we are Italians living in England, England is our home!"
Another community figure with Italian heritage is Chairman of LB First, Gennaro Borrelli, who was also watching the match. He said: "It went on for ages and it was drama all the way - edge of your seat stuff!
"England played a good game certainly in the first half, then in the second Italy swung it the other way.
"Penalties were a horrible, horrible way to lose such an important match an tournament.
"Italy has had similar heartache in the past. I was pleased that Italy won but if England had won I would have been extremely happy.
"I know in Italy they were desperate to win; they were the first country in Europe that got hit badly when coronavirus first happened."
Looking forward, he added: "I'm a big fan of Gareth Southgate. He's got an amazingly talented young squad. Watch out Qatar!
"It's been a great tonic, the whole tournament - it was nice to hear visitors to the salon talking about something else other than Covid-19.
"Certainly the best two teams made the final."