Italy crushed Turkey 3-0 today in the opening match of the UEFA EURO 2020 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Italy dominated the highly-anticipated football event, heading into the tournament with a 27 match winning streak.
Roberto Mancini’s star team controlled most of the first half but could not catch the perfect opportunity to score. All that changed after half-time, when Turkey’s Merih Demiral unwittingly chested the ball into the Turkish net, resulting in an own-goal that gave the already commanding Italians some leverage.
Then, as Turkey’s defense desperately tried to clear the ball, Italy’s Ciro Immobile got ahead of them, scoring and bringing the Italians up two.
Twenty minutes before the end of the match, Lorenzo Insigne sunk Italy’s third goal after they took possession of Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir’s goal kick.
A breathtaking, historical Euro 2020 opener
“We have played many teams that have done what Turkey did this evening. They put everyone [back] there, give you little space and make it hard for you to score,” said Italian coach Roberto Mancini. He continued:
“But the lads had patience. We waited, kept playing, tried to get that goal, then we got it. The lads did really well. The first half wasn’t straightforward and in a game like that, even if they [Turkey] put everyone back, if you give one [goal] away on the break, the game changes.”
Italy’s game winning goal made history as the team has never scored more than two goals in a Euro game before.
The tournament launched with famed opera singer Andrea Bocelli performing ‘Nessun Dorma’, the Italian national anthem, to a crowd of 16,000 and explosions of fireworks.
The Azzurri had something to prove as they had not qualified for the 2018 World Cup, and have not appeared in a major football tournament until the Euros opener.
“It was important to start well here in Rome and it is a joy for us and for all the Italians,” Mancini said.
“It was a great evening, I hope there will be many more, but there are still six to go before Wembley”.
Turkey will go on to play Wales as they move on through Group A. Italy will play Switzerland. Both games air on Wednesday, June 16th.
The European Championships were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but have kept ‘2020’ in its name. With a relative drop in COVID infections and rise in vaccination doses, the matches are set to go without a hitch this year. The tournament is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and has matches planned across 12 European countries instead of one host country. The matches will be held in London, Glasgow, Dublin, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome, St Petersburg, Bucharest, Budapest and Baku.