The Azzurri’s steal the show with a dominant win over the Turks in the opening encounter of EURO 2020 as they set the bar high

June 12, 2021

The EURO 2020 has finally commenced, the Italians are back with a bang into a major competition in 5 years with an ongoing record of 28 games unbeaten and hence we can say that everything is at ease now. The inaugural ceremony did not lack any pomp and show as Andrea Bocelli’s spine tingling and transformational performance set the right tone for this competition with 16,000 fans gathered up in the Stadio Olympico, Rome.

The Italian passion and romanticism for their national anthem

Roberto Mancini’s side displayed an intelligent, patient attacking football establishing them as a favorite- just like a scene out of Mancini’s notebook. “The crowd helped us”, Mancini admitted in the post-match press conference, “It was crucial for us to move the ball quickly”. They marched on with high press inside the oppositions defensive third with Jorginho and Manuel Locatelli acting as a pivot and connector from the offensive to the defensive line and the presence of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci at the back who wear the Italian shirt like a scar in their heart ready to do anything to protect their pride.

Since the kick-off and through the entire first half the Italians frustrated the brains out of the Turks with their relentless and persuasive scattered attack build up behind the Turkish defensive line. The Turks being the youngest side in this competition did not give in that quickly as they stood strong holding the fort and nullifying quite brilliantly the shots taken by the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile and also kept the powerful headers by Giorgio Chiellini at bay. Turkish defender, Umut Meras was at a constant battle with Nicolo Barella inside the half-way line trying to stop the build up to the attack. Hakan Calhanoglu and Yusuf Yazici operated well in counterattack and were successful in getting the ball for the Turkish skipper and sole forward, Burak Yilmaz but eventually they were unable to upheaval the Italian defensive wall with Gianluigi Donnarumma not being tested at the goal until the latter half of the match.

The second half saw two tactical changes from both the sides with Giovanni DiLorenzo replacing Alessandro Florenzi at the right back position and Cengiz Under coming on in place of Yusuf Yazici and the two substitutes locked their horns since then. The substitutions were a mere sign of the predicament that was about to come as the Turks broke down at the 53rd minute after Manuel Locatelli’s dazzling pass for Berardi who bustled down the right flank and approached the near post by beating Umut Meras and whipped in a dangerous cross much to Merih Demiral’s disappointment as he couldn’t help but divert the ball into his own net.

Merih Demiral’s own goal
Berardi and Locatelli celebrating the first goal

The Azzurri’s did not have to look behind since they broke the deadlock and drew the first blood into the game and the stadium turned into a cauldron of noise with frenzy Italian supporters celebrating all over. The 66th minute came with another blow for the Turks as Ciro Immobile’s shot reached the far corner of the net making it his 14th international goal with nothing but an exquisite build up with Spinazzola’s powerful low strike blocked by Ugurcan Cakir only to put the ball in the path for the danger-man Immobile in front of the goal. “It gave us goosebumps. It was a perfect performance. We were patient; we moved the ball around well.”- Spinazzola’s remarked as he was voted the Star of the Match for his defining efforts down the left flank and all in influence in the entire game.

Ciro Immobile nabbing his 14th international goal

The whole of the Italian side were so good with the ball that none of the changes that Mancini made afterwards affected their style of play but on the contrary alleviated their game to another level. The incessant pop-ups of corners and free kicks from the Italian side kept Turkeys’ attacking prowess up to a limit. The Azzurri’s jabbed the final pin to the Turks coffin at the 79th minute as Lorenzo Insigne’s curling effort at the edge of the penalty area found home beyond the Turkish custodian making the score line 0-3, first time for the Italians at the EURO finals. Roberto Mancini did not take any more chances and replaced Lorenzo Insigne making way for Federico Chiesa’s cameo performance in this one hell of a historic night.

Insigne celebrating his goal with Immobile and Bonucci
Insigne’s celebration

The Turks were looking for some consolation goal and Merih Demiral a resurrection for his mistake and all in for their huge defensive failure and lack of discipline making way for Gianluigi Donnarumma to test his skills for the night once again but much to their disappointment Giorgio Chiellini held the fort for the Azzurri’s with fire in his heart and resilience in his interceptions.

Burak Yilmaz being tackled by Chiellini

The Italians being brilliant on and off the ball turned the game around 360 degree after the dominant yet lacking first half performance and once again fortified their glory in front of their supporters after five years of being in exile from scoring big in a major tournament and the whole side screamed out for a lot of appreciation in terms of management of space and not giving in to the counterattacks from the Turks and never falling shot of reinventing their style of play and keeping the Turkish defense under their control by creating offensive situations and traps which the Turks fell into and most of the credits go to El Mister, Roberto Mancini. The Turks having being so motivated for their opening night and being one of the most fanatical of football nations need to organize their style of play and attacking skills if they want to make it big in this competition.

The Italians celebrating their win

Team News:

Turkey: Cakir, Celik, Demiral, Soyuncu, Meras, Yokuslu(Kahveci-65’), Karaman(Dervisoglu-76’), Tufan(Ayhan-64’), Yazici(Under-46’), Calhanoglu, Burak Yilmaz.

Subs: Gunok, Tokoz, Bayindir, Antalyali, Kabak, Unal, Kokcu, Muldur

Italy: Donnarumma, Florenzi(Di Lorenzo-46’), Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola, Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli(Cristante-74’), Berardi(Bernardeschi-85’), Immobile(Belotti-81’), Insigne(Chiesa-81’).

Subs: Raspadori, Bastoni, Sirigu, Meret, Pessina, Emerson Palmieri, Acerbi

Star of the MatchLeonardo Spinazzola

Leonardo Spinazzola with his Star of the Match award