The Eurocopa started as restrained in the stands as it was grateful on the court of the Olímpico in Rome with an indisputable victory for Italy. Moderation is still imposed in the most passionate scenarios due to the effects of the pandemic – the stadium was opened to 23,309 spectators – and virtuality still mixes with presence: Andrea Bocelli sang the Nessun Dorma in the opening ceremony to later give way to the video clips of Martin Garrix, Bono and The Edge. Football, however, remains very much alive and offers good games like the jovial Italy.
The host of Group A left Turkey speechless at a time when politically relations between the two countries are precisely very delicate due to the dialectical struggle between Mario Draghi and Recep Erdogan. There was no possible discussion with the ball in play because with and without the ball Italy overwhelmed Turkey.
In favor of the scoreboard, Italy is now a cheerful and dynamic team, capable of playing carelessly after chaining 28 games without losing and nine without scoring a goal, also far superior to Turkey. Although he defends with illustrious center-backs such as Bonucci and Chiellini and attacks with skilled forwards such as Berardi, Immobile and Insigne, the key to the team is in the midfielder line and especially in players like Jorginho and Barella, a footballer who is used to being the same solvent in Inter de Conte than in Mancini’s team.
The injuries of Pellegrini and Verratti, in addition to the already known Sensi, did not reduce the intensity of the Azzurra. Italy went for the game from the start, aggressive in the pressure on someone else’s court and very connected by the play between the lines of the elusive Insigne and the permanent tackles of the left-handed back Spinazzola. It has nothing to do with the team that was left out of the 2018 World Cup. The depression has given way to optimism after a proposal that has nothing to do with the old catenaccio or with the conservatism that has historically been attributed to Italy.
Turkey had no choice but to join lines, shrink spaces and defend itself around Çakir. Nor did he care too much because it is a team that clings to parties from the government of the areas, usually strong in his and opportunistic in the opposite by the scoring nose of Burak Yilmaz, who at 35 years old became the star from Lille. Turkey is a competitive team, as seen in the qualifying round, and also worked and organized by the revered Senol Günes, the coach who led the team to third place at the 2002 World Cup.
Italy persevered so much in search of the goal that even Chiellini often came close in attack as if he were just another inside, ready to filter the final pass or finish off the strategy plays forced by the offensive of Mancini’s squad. Turkey, however, barely conceded spaces and the Italian shots did not catch the goal or otherwise they came out centered and soft, luckily for Çakir. Italy became so desperate that they claimed up to three penalties for hands that were not considered punishable by the Dutch referee Makkelie.
A decisive mistake
The Turkish centrals and midfielders closed very well on the inside and Italy had a hard time running on the outside, lacking the depth and aiming team, exposed on the other hand to the rival’s counter, reinforced with the entry on the scene of Under. The goal announced by local insistence and dominance came, however, when Italy seemed most vulnerable due to its desire to win: Berardi attacked from the right, broke and sat Meras and his center was pushed into the net by Demiral’s body. The defender turned his body badly towards his goal and made it 0-1. The goal calmed and encouraged the Italians and forced Turkey to open up.
The game gained vividness and, in the open field, the host is a much better team than the Turkish team, no matter how much Günes intervenes. The rhythm of Mancini’s boys overflowed the Turks and the arrivals followed one another as much as the shots to the despair of Çakir. Individual errors blurred a team that lost the collective charm that it was supposed to have since it qualified for the final phase of the European Championship.
Berardi sneaked in again, already off the hook and without a mark, Spinazzola continued to attack and his rejection left a clean shot for Immobile: 0-2.
The 0-3, caused by an error by the Turkish goalkeeper in the exit of the ball, was marked by Insigne to complete the good Italian choral performance and the excellent contribution of Mancini’s forwards.
The win ended up unhinging Turkey. Not only did he not manage to finish a play, lost since he took the goal, but he messed up the game in an attempt to make his ordeal end as soon as possible without taking a fourth goal in a game that was supposed to be closer, no matter how favorite Italy was.
The scoreboard reinforces the aspirations of Azzurra, dominating the game from start to finish, with and without an advantage on the scoreboard, powerful physically, also strong tactically and fresh in football, which is especially interesting news in the current panorama of Europe. Although history assures that it is better when it is not a favorite and worse if it feels like a candidate for the title, Italy arrived at the European Championship at the right time.
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