Flamboyant Conte roars out of garage and burns up grass

PARIS: After months holed up in his "garage", Italy coach Antonio Conte has been finally able to smell the grass and he is relishing every minute of it.

Conte, who spends matches ranting incessantly at his players and the referee from the touchline, is one of the most passionate coaches at Euro 2016 and has led an ageing, technically-limited side further than many felt possible.

His inspirational leadership of Italy, who face Germany in the quarter-finals on Saturday, is all the more impressive considering that only recently his attitude to the job was being questioned.

"Conte wanted to show that this team could win over the hearts of the Italians and he has done it. The national team is an emblem of unity and has the same will to win as its coach," he said.

"Conte is a great coach, a great man, who keeps his word and makes sacrifices. We solved the problem of how to hire him with help from the sponsors. Unfortunately, he is leaving but this is an investment that has paying off in every sense."