Turkey 0 – Italy 3
Italy emerged from Friday night’s opening match of the Euro 2020 football tournament in Rome as plausible contenders for the title. His coordinated press game tired the Turks and delayed the result with three goals in the second half – the biggest transport for the Azzurri in a European Championship game.
A disappointing and overly defensive Turkish team had barely a chance to score. Hatefully for the rest of the pack, Italy are now unbeaten in 28 games since September 2018.
With only 16,000 spectators in the stands, the Olympic Stadium was not exactly a blazing cauldron and Turkey was not coming to enrich the atmosphere. His tactic was to keep nine men behind the ball and hopefully counterattack through his stout 35-year-old striker and captain Burak Yilmaz. Turkey has more to offer, but their veteran coach Senol Gunes did not trust them to try here.
On the contrary, Italy in recent years have aligned themselves with the orthodoxy of the world’s top teams, playing a pressing attacking game in the middle of the opposition. They mastered the best pressing aspect, almost always stealing the ball from Turkey in five seconds. But although the little Neapolitan Lorenzo Insigne saw the space between the lines, Italy lacked a creative player of world importance capable of breaking through the Turkish circles. The first half was anticlimactic – obscured, in fact, by the performance of tenor Andrea Bocelli of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma”, a remake of the 1990 World Cup in Italy when it was unforgettable sung by Luciano Pavarotti.
Finally, in the 53rd minute, Italy winger Domenico Berardi, who had had a bad game, advanced into Turkey’s penalty area, and fired in a cross. Central defender Merih Demiral was not skilled enough to get out of the way, and the ball bounced off his chest into the net. It was the first European Championship to open with an own goal – a start in line with dirty football up to that point.
But then Italy took advantage of the benefits that often come to a passing, pressing team: the opposition, tired of hunting for the ball, especially on a hot Roman night, and desperate going one down, began to leave open spaces. . In the 66th minute, an Italian pass from the break split the Turkish defense, Italian marathon defender Leonardo Spinnazola fired well, goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir did well to push it, and Lazio center-back Ciro Immobile fired home. rebound.
The Roman crowd sang his name, a reminder of the advantage that nine teams playing games in their own country will have in this tournament with their unprecedented format of using stadiums across the continent.
Once the Italians were 2-0 up, they had no trouble holding possession through their Insigne ball players Jorginho and young Sardinian Nicolò Barella. Sometimes in the second half, Italy looked more like a good Spanish team than the old Azzurri. In 78 minutes, an amateur pass from Cakir was intercepted, and Immobile found a totally unmarked Insigne, who scored the deserved goal – after which he was immediately replaced by coach Roberto Mancini, who knows he needs to keep it up. again for the serious end of the tournament.
With home games against Switzerland and Wales coming up, Italy can barely qualify for the round of 16, as three teams out of four will make it to four of the six groups.
The Turks were free of ideas and had not had a threatening blow in all games. On the rare occasions they advanced, they were silenced by former Juventus center-back Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, leaving 22-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the sweetest of initiations in a major tournament . Turkey could also pass easily, but its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a passionate footballer himself, will hope to become more nationalist capital out of this team.