On a night that saw this summer’s delayed European Championships open up in Rome, Italy managed to mark their return to the major tournament stage with a thumping 3-0 win against Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico.
Despite opening Friday’s meeting as the guests on paper, Roberto Mancini’s men put on a real second-half flurry as they pounced on what was a dreadful Turkey side in the Italian heat.
With defender Merih Demiral deflecting into his own net after 53 minutes, the flood gates quickly opened as the former Manchester City boss saw Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne wrap up a clinical opener on home soil.
With the mood in Italy’s camp epitomized by the celebrations after Giorgio Chiellini’s stunning last-gasp block, we have taken a look at three key talking points after Italy laid down their marker.
A night to remember for Italy
Although Italy might have publically missed out on a spot in Russia at the World Cup finals three years ago, The Blues have only continued on a remarkable resurge under Roberto Mancini and underlined on Friday why many have tipped them as a real contender this summer.
While Gli Azzurri might have struggled to break down Turkey’s ultra-defensive set-up in the first 45, the former world champions showed with their second-half performance why they’re a nation enjoying an unbeaten run that stems all the way back to September 2018.
Already taking a huge step to clinching their spot at the top of Group A, Italy’s 3-0 win in Rome was their 28th straight appearance without tasting defeat, they’re now just two fixtures away from matching a record that has stood for over eight decades.
Balanced by a defensive duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci that have over 200 international caps between them, Italy’s faultless display on Friday certainly puts them in the mix as an early tournament contender.
Immobile opens his account
While Mancini would have undoubtedly been glad to have seen his side record their ninth straight clean sheet at the Stadio Olimpico, it was one of Rome’s hometown boys who really spearheaded Italy’s charge on Friday.
Getting the nod ahead of Andrea Belotti, despite the Torino striker finding the net in his last three international appearances, Ciro Immobile was a constant menace to Turkey’s tired defence and opened his summer in the perfect way.
Finishing well in the second-half after Leonardo Spinazzola’s effort was parried out by Turkey shot-stopper Uğurcan Çakır, the Lazio marksman also picked up an assist for Lorenzo Insigne’s whipped finish with 10 minutes remaining.
Cementing his spot as Mancini’s leading man up top, Immobile also played a vital role as Italy remarkably recorded a trio of goals in a European Championship fixture for the first-time in their glittering history.
Bagging his first goal at a major tournament, the 31-year-old now finds himself priced at 12/1 with Betfair to lift the Golden Boot come next month.
While a small section of noisy Turkey supporters might have made their voices heard ahead of kick-off out in Rome on Friday, it quickly became a night to forget for The Reds.
Despite many from across Europe tipping The Crescent-Stars as a standout pick to secure an automatic route out of Group A, Şenol Güneş’ men failed to lay a glove on Italy and continued on what has been a woeful record when opening a European tournament.
Now losing all five of their opening contests, it would have been the manner of Turkey’s defeat at the Stadio Olimpico that will be the biggest concern for their returning boss.
With skipper Burak Yilmaz hardly getting a sniff and cutting a frustrated figure after leading Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season, Ay-Yıldızlılar failed to muster a single shot on target and now face a real uphill battle.
An inexperienced squad that ran out of gas before even heading in for the break, it is hard to find any positives after a dreadful night for Turkey.
Turkey: Cakir (6), Celik (5), Demiral (4), Soyuncu (5), Meras (5), Yokuslu (7), Tufan (5), Yazici (5.5), Karaman (6), Calhanoglu (7), Yilmaz (6)
Subs: Under (5), Kahveci (5), Ayhan (5), Dervisoglu (4)
Italy: Donnaruma (7), Florenzi (5.5), Bonucci (7), Chiellini (7.5), Spinazzola (7.5), Locatelli (6.5), Jorginho (7.5), Barella (8), Berardi (7), Immobile (8), Insigne (8)
Subs: Cristante (6.5), Di Lorenzo (7), Chiesa (6) Belotti (6), Bernardeschi (6)
Goals: Demiral OG 53′, Immobile 66′, Insigne 79′
Yellow Cards: Soyuncu, Dervisoglu
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Danny Makkelie
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