After seeing their country hit hard by the coronavirus, the Azzurri were happy to start the tournament in style
Italy star Ciro Immobile basked in his goal against Turkey on Friday as he and his teammates celebrated the fact that Italian fans could finally get together after over a year of fighting the coronavirus.
Immobile scored the second of Italy’s goals and led in a 3-0 victory that also included a finish from Lorenzo Insigne and a unfortunate own goal from Merih Demiral.
Italy’s Euro 2020 opening victory came at the Stadio Olimpico, home of Immobile’s club team Lazio, making the striker’s goal even sweeter.
What did Immobile say?
“Seeing fans celebrate after all this time was wonderful, we finally got together after so long with this damn virus,” Immobile told RAI Sport.
“I think we showed patience tonight. Turkey is a strong side and caused problems for many top teams. We tried to tire them out in the first half by moving the ball left and right and trying to disperse them.
“Unfortunately, we regularly hit their wall, especially since we are not so good in the air. Turkey were more tired after the break and after the goal they had to open some rooms so that was when our quality emerged.
“Scoring a goal on the Eurode debut in my stadium will not get any better.”
‘It gave us goosebumps’
Immobile was not the only one moved by Friday’s match when Matchman Leonardo Spinazzola admitted it was an emotional day.
Italy was one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus last year, and seeing fans at the stadium was again something special for the Italian defender.
“The emotions started in the bus towards the stadium and saw all the people on the street. It really gave us goosebumps, ”he said Sky Sport Italy.
“It was a perfect performance. We were patient, we moved the ball well around. Then afterwards I saw my son in the stands, it was emotional. ”
A long way forward
Italy kick-started the tournament in the style of the 3-0 victory in what was their first ever three-goal performance in Euro.
Azzurri is seen by many as a challenger to run deep into the tournament, even though they have not received the same attention as some of the other tournament favorites.
Friday’s result will no doubt give them some momentum on their way through the rest of the group games and maybe even into knockout rounds going forward.
“When you start this adventure, you need some excitement, some goosebumps, the desire to get out there. I imagined it would be like that because of the road we took to get here, ”defender Leonardo Bonucci told Sky Sport Italia.
“Now this is the first on a long journey, so we keep our feet on the ground, as it will be a race of very close games, the opponents get to know us better, but we know we can say our opinion.
“We have to keep our heads down. We said in the locker room that we needed a clear head and warm heart. We need to put determination into it and give the best of our abilities.
“With people around us in the stands, it is a completely different style of football. They keep our hearts flaming throughout the fight.
“Let us now from tomorrow cancel the negative, take the positive and prepare for the next match.”