(Reuters) - 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 quarter-final berth.
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 a.m. local time, shortly after arriving back in Krakow from beating the Irish 2-0 in Poznan.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)
Italy have since defeated England and Germany to advance to the EURO 2012 final against Spain. The Spanish team is no stranger to pilgrimages. Many of the team's players and staff walked the famous El Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) after they won the World Cup in 2010.