Euro-2020: Italy launches tournament by currying Turkey

The Italian team celebrate their victory against Turkey in the opening match of the Euro, in Rome, on June 11, 2021.

EURO – With the support of tifosi deprived of a stadium for more than a year and a huge desire, Italy launched its Euro perfectly by largely dominating Turkey (3-0) this Friday 11 June during the opening match in Rome.

This reborn Italy, rebuilt three years ago by Roberto Mancini on the ruins of the failed qualification for the 2018 World Cup which traumatized a whole generation of Azzurri supporters, kept its promises by winning in its own way: with enthusiasm, the one captain Giorgio Chiellini not hesitating to attack, play and goals.

Senol Günes’ Turkey, best defense in the qualifiers (with Belgium, 3 goals), was nevertheless a real trap but it was undoubtedly punished by a lack of ambition in the game, clearly coming to Rome to try to preserve a point.

The tactic worked for 45 minutes, but the Turkish defense cracked when the locker room returned, betrayed by one of its Serie A players, Merih Demiral: the Juventus defender cheated on his own goalkeeper, freeing the Italian supporters (53rd).

Berardi in all the blows

Italy, also freed, took off with Ciro Immobile (66th), for his first goal in selection in this Stadio Olimpico which he frequents in club with Lazio, then with Lorenzo Insigne (79th). On these three goals, the mark of Domenico Berardi, the winger of Sassuolo, who was the real detonator of an Italy which scored for the first time three goals in a Euro.

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The evening is perfect for Roberto Mancini: his three attackers have been full of confidence by scoring, his defense has not taken any goals for 9 consecutive matches (for 28 scored!) And his Italy remains on 28 games without defeat.

Here is a nice way to start the Euro where Italy arrives with the will to test its ambitions, after qualifications without false note (ten victories in ten matches) but few matches against major nations to gauge itself.

With an unsurprising composition, and therefore without Marco Verratti, still in the recovery phase after his knee injury in May, Italy quickly got their hands on the match. It was the expected scenario: Turks grouped behind, facing Italians masters of the ball and trying to find a mouse hole to pass.

Berardi, preferred to Federico Chiesa on the wing at the start of the tournament, showed himself from the start: his delicious pass for Lorenzo Insigne was not however converted by the Napoli striker (18th), nor his center taken again of the head but little to side by Ciro Immobile (33rd).

No penalty

Captain Chiellini, very high to make the surplus in the middle, almost in the role of the absent Verratti, did not spare his efforts for what will perhaps be his last tournament. And he could even have cleared the match with a header, but he found the gloves of Turkish goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir (22nd).

Just before the break, the Italians demanded, in vain despite the intervention of the VAR and the bronca of the Olimpico, a penalty on a center of Leonardo Spinzzola which touched the outstretched arm of Zeki Çelik. But the referee did not go back on his decision.

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And Turkey in all of this? Gianluigi Donnarumma hardly had to do anything except to ward off a dangerous cross from Burak Yilmaz (35th) then an attempt by Cengiz Ünder against (51st), just after coming into play at half-time. Hakan Calhanoglu, for his part, complained about his defense which tended to swing too much without trying to build.

Once Italy passed, Turkey tried to react but without having the means to exist against such a team, in confidence, determined not to let go.

Berardi, Chiellini and the others could go and pick up the congratulations of the fans with the feeling of duty done: Italy is well back.

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