Italy will face stronger opposition than Turkey at Euro 2020, but a massive 3-0 win in the tournament’s opening match on Friday suggests the Azzurri have everything to go far.
The result was a fitting reward for Roberto Mancini’s team who extended their unbeaten run to 28 games with a stunning performance while keeping another clean sheet, which is 12 in the last 13 games.
Mancini, who took over after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, has transformed his lackluster and anticipated squad into a formidable unit whose three-axis attack thrives alongside a creative midfield and formidable defence.
Abandoning the conservative Italian safety style first, Mancini created an adventurous team, based on clear one-touch passes, and scored 10 consecutive wins in the playoffs, scoring 37 goals and conceding four.
The 4-0 win over the Czech Republic in the final warm-up last Sunday turned out to be a taste of what was to come at the Olympic Stadium as Mancini sent an unchanged team against the Turks and his men back again.
Turkey held out toothless in the first half with everyone behind the ball but the Italians left the impression that it was only a matter of time before the gates opened.
Domenico Berardi was a threat on the right flank throughout the evening and there was only one result after Merih Demiral turned the striker’s cross into his own net in the 53rd minute.
With left-back Leonardo Spinazola damaged on the other flank, Turkey’s defense, which had conceded three goals in 10 qualifying matches, looked out at sea and received no response to Italy’s raids.
Ciro Immobile was rewarded with an exemplary opportunistic goal to make it 2-0 in the 66th minute before Lorenzo Insigne put the ball in the 79th minute with a superb shot past the helpless goalkeeper Ogurkan Kaker.
Defending duo Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, on the other hand, looked more comfortable than ever in keeping Turkey’s top scorer Burak Yilmaz on alert and in possession of their midfield.
After scoring three goals in one European Championship game for the first time, Italy’s newfound confidence and commitment in attacking football looks set to pay off even more.
The Azzurri will head to their remaining Group A matches against Switzerland and Wales in the same venue backed by a display of the happiest fans who will see more of the same.