Why this mad excess, this extraordinary investment of emotion and rhetoric in what is, after all, just a game that ended badly? This is a country where thirty-five per cent of young adults are unemployed, a country which, in the last decade, has lost a large part of its manufacturing base and building industry. It faces a dramatic ongoing immigration crisis that has African men, women, and children frequently dying in the sea around its coasts. Banks falter, political parties split and bicker, the elections set for the spring of 2018 seem destined to deliver a parliament with no clear majority and hence no coherent government. Yet the most dramatic headlines seem to be exclusively reserved for soccer. “A sadness that infects us all,” Il Messaggero lamented. “An indelible stain,” Corriere dello Sport moaned, offering a choice of metaphors: “Apocalypse, tragedy, catastrophe.”

The crowd psychology wiki page has a lot of details on what is happening in the mind of the fans. Poor Italy.