Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci has credited a stray comment from Declan Rice with spurring on the Azzuri to Euro 2020 glory.
Bonucci, who forced home an equaliser in the second half in the final at Wembley, setting the scene for a penalty shootout win, said the incessant repetition of the England fan chant 'It's coming home' had riled the Italian team ahead of the decider.
On the Friday before the final, Rice, who otherwise praised the Italian midfield, said to Talksport "I can assure you, we will be ready for it 10 times harder than they will."
In an interview with The Athletic, Bonucci described Rice's comments as a mistake and indicate that the quotes and the popular fan chant were used as a source of motivation.
"We didn't pay much attention to it until the Spain game, then the anger inside of us began to mount," Bonucci told James Horncastle.
"We wanted to show them that the final hadn’t already been decided. That they hadn’t already won.
"Hearing that song on repeat and the comment from Declan Rice saying England were 10 times more motivated to win than us… well, they’re the kind of mistakes young players make. You don’t say that. You should never say you want something more than somebody else or you’re better than somebody else.
"You should always put yourself on the same level as your opponent, keep a low profile and strike at the right moment. That's what we did. We never said we were going to win, just that we were an inch away from going all the way and getting the right result. We were never presumptuous about it.
"We stayed humble and that’s what made the difference. We had a great team, a great coach and a great staff behind us. To give our country and ourselves that kind of joy was something truly special."
After Italy won the tournament, their first since the 2006 World Cup and their first European Championship victory since 1968, Bonucci was named in the team of the tournament. He was also named by UEFA as the 'star of the match' in the final.