Decked in red and yellow, Spanish fans burst into chants of "Champions!", detonated bangers and danced in fountains as an historic Euro 2012 win swept away the clouds of crisis.
Young and old revelled in their unprecedented third straight international title, blaring car horns and flying the national flag in their hands, through car windows and off the back of motorbikes.
Spain's red-and-yellow colours were everywhere: painted on faces, decorating wigs, on banners draped over fans' shoulders, wrapped around hips, and hanging from balconies and outside bars.
In the streets they banged drums, blared horns, or just waved two-euro ($2.50) flags sold on street corners. In the central square Madrid of Puerta del Sol a dozen people leapt into the fountain and slashed water over scores of others dancing in joy.
It was a world away from Rome, where a rock concert atmosphere at the ancient Circus Maximus arena evaporated and tens of thousands made a gloomy run for the exits.
"I feel defeated. The will was there but they were tired," said 23-year-old Fabio in a blue Italy shirt as he walked away with a group of friends. "We did our best but I was hoping for better."
The press echoed the sentiment.
"Thanks anyway, Italy," the online edition of la Repubblica said.
In Spain, there was no surpressing the joy.
Tens of thousands of people were glued to giant screens in an official fanzone outside Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium as Spain snatched an historic third victory after the Euro 2008 and World Cup of 2010.
Others swilled beers, cheering and gasping in bars across the nation as the thriller unfolded.
"Today the whole country is united as one and everyone is in the Euro. And the crisis? No-one is thinking about the crisis," said 23-year-old business student Miguel Revert outside a central Madrid sports bar.