There are hundreds of Roberto Mancini among the best players to lift the Henri Delaunay Prize, but the bookmaker may not be able to adjust as the Italians watch the league over their rivals on a humid night in Rome.
Own goals from Merih Demiral and attacks from Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne gave Italy a deserved victory, although Turkey certainly had the ability, albeit inexperienced, to get rid of coach Senol Gunes.
Sterner test will certainly go against Italy, but this opening game of the postponement is worth the wait Azzurri.
For most of the game, it seemed that Nessun Dorma’s Andrea Bocelli’s provocative performance during the opening ceremony would be the highlight of the night only, as both teams were trying to find a pace in the early exchange.
The first chance to open the semi-finals came as Insigne played second-team team-mate Domenico Berardi, but Napoli’s defensive side fired home from close range.
Italy certainly dominates, but finds clear opportunities that are hard to come by.
Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini’s head from the corner forced a save from Turkish goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir, even though his efforts seemed to cross over.
Despite their inexperience, Turkey’s young and talented team entered Euro 2020 with high expectations. At 35, Captain Burak Yilmaz – fresh from helping Lille win Ligue 1 – is eight years older than any other player on the team.
The player struggled to get into the game early on, finding himself normally isolated as Turkey managed to occupy only 37% in the first half. In fact, Yilmaz was forced to spend more time on his own penalty area to help defend wave after wave of Italian attacks than he did in the opposition box.
Fortunately, the game came to life early in the second half as Italy emerged from the dressing room with greater force.
It only took eight minutes for the bankruptcy to be broken and it was Turkish defender Demiral who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, sending the ball into his own net from Domenico Berardi’s low cross.
The Rome of the Stadio Olimpico, even though it was only 1/4 of its 70,000 capacity due to the Covid-19 constraint, exploded and it was not long before Italian fans celebrated the second.
Berardi was once again at the center of it, firing the ball into the distance for Leonardo Spinazzola, whose shot was completely dropped at Immobile’s foot to slide the ball into the far corner.
Italy were in control of the cruise, as it had been a big part of the game, and Insigne put the stone in the dust in just 10 minutes.
Cakir’s passive pass allows the Immobile to eventually feed the Insigne inside the box and the winger with a diminished not to be mistaken for an interesting first finish.
Italy will certainly surprise many with the execution of the order – including unexpected rivals tonight – and will no doubt have 23 other countries to announce.
On Saturday, Switzerland face Wales – the other two teams in Group A – while Denmark face Finland and Russia play Belgium in Group B.