Italy produced a dominant performance on the early evening of Friday June 11, 2021 to beat Turkey 3-0 in the opening match of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship at Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
Italy made history, scoring more than two goals in a EURO match for the first time, in their 39th finals outing.
The Azurri made a first real test at goal in the 18th minute when Insigne fired wide from inside the Turkish box.
Skipper Giorgio Chiellini came closest to finding the net four minutes later but a header from the Juventus center-back was tipped over by Uğurcan Çakır.
Turkey set up with a back three, left no space behind their defensive line and successfully thwarted the Italians to see the game goalless at the break in Rome.
The Crescent-Stars tried to stay calm after the restart and stick to the game plan of looking for counterattacks, but Italy kept possession and danger levels kept rising.
Domenico Berardi drove into the area and thumped in a low cross of such venom that Merih Demiral could not adjust his body to deflect it clear, instead got the ball rolling into his own net, eight minutes into the second half. The Azzurri were up and running.
Thirteen minutes later, Immobile tapped in a rebound after Spinazzola’s attempt was saved by the Turkish goalkeeper, Uğurcan.
Tenacious Lorenzo Insigne put the icing on the cake in the 79th minute after he curled in an awe-inspiring third into the far corner of the net.
Şenol Güneş, Turkey Coach
“It was not our day. We started to lose the ball and couldn’t get forward. Italy were better – we lost to the better team. This is a tournament. We have two more games. We will prepare ourselves for the Wales game first.”
Roberto Mancini, Italy Coach
Roberto Mancini, Italy coach: “We played well. With it being the first match, it wasn’t easy and we were up against a good team. The crowd helped us, and it was crucial for us to move the ball quickly.”
Turkey: Uğurcan Çakır; Zeki Çelik, Merih Demiral, Çağlar Söyüncü, Umut Meraş; Okay Yokuşlu (İrfan Can Kahveci 65), Ozan Tufan (Kaan Ayhan 64), Yusuf Yazıcı (Cengiz Ünder 46), Kenan Karaman (Halil Dervişoğlu 76), Hakan Çalhanoğlu; Burak Yılmaz
Italy: Donnarumma; Florenzi (Di Lorenzo 46), Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli (Cristante 74); Berardi (Bernardeschi 85), Immobile (Belotti 81), Insigne (Chiesa 81)
Italy is handed another home advantage as they take on Switzerland on June 16 before they take on Wales on June 20 in Rome.
Turkey’s next match is against Wales on June 16 and Switzerland on June 20 in Baku.
This is Turkey’s fifth appearance at the European Championship, having made their finals debut in 1996. They reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2000 and the last four of Euro 2008 but failed to qualify for the 2004 and 2012 tournaments.
This is Italy’s ninth appearance at the European Championships (with an upcoming tournament in 2020), and ended in the final at three occasions. They became European champions at home in 1968, the first European Championship they qualified for, and became tournament runners-up in Belgium/Netherlands 2000 and Poland/Ukraine 2012.
Italy is now unbeaten in 28 international games and yet to concede a goal in 2021.
Turkey has never beaten Italy. Of the 11 times that the two sides have met, Italy have won 8 times and drawn the remaining 3.
UEFA Euros Opening Ceremony
The 2020 UEFA Euros is being held across the continent for the first time in the competition’s 60-year history, with 11 host cities in all. It takes place between June 11 and July 11 with 24 teams.
With a colourful opening ceremony, the 16th Euros finally got underway a year behind schedule and with the coronavirus continuing to cast a shadow over the tournament.
The ceremony was brief but communicated deep message with virtual performances from Martin Garrix, Bono and The Edge, which lasted for some 20 minutes.
Andrea Bocelli, the world’s most popular living tenor, performed Puccini’s ‘Nessun dorma’ at the UEFA Euros 2020 Opening Ceremony in the Stadio Olimpico.
Mark F. | SilverFM