Euro 2020 opened in emphatic fashion thanks to a stirring rendition of Nessun Dorma, one of football’s most famous songs, as Italy extended their unbeaten run to 28 games with a superb 3-0 win over Turkey.
Everton and Tottenham target Merih Demiral’s comical own goal gave Roberto Mancini’s men the lead eight minutes after the break.
Italy eased to an impressive victory over Turkey in the opening match of Euro 2020[/caption]
Ciro Immobile doubled Italy’s lead on 66 minutes, with the Lazio striker tucking home the ball smartly after Ugurcan Cakir had kept out Leonardo Spinazzola’s effort.
And the contest was over when Turkey make a terrible mess of playing out from the back with Lorenzo Insigne taking full advantage by producing a lovely curling first-time finish into the far post.
While it wasn’t the classic we all hoped for, the rescheduled tournament did start off with a bang thanks to Italian opera tenor Andrea Bocelli.
A spectacular opening ceremony was watched by a quarter-full stadium of 16,000 spectators in the Italian capital.
Fireworks, giant footballs, suspended drummers and the unfurling of competing nations’ flags were followed by Bocelli singing Nessun Dorma on the pitch.
16,000 fans were in attendance for the opening match spectacle – you love to see it[/caption]
It was an inspiring spectacle and the opening game had plenty to live up to with both sides setting about their task in a lively tempo.
Napoli forward Insigne curled the best first-half chance wide in the 17th minute as Italy, who lost in the quarter-finals to Germany on penalties at Euro 2016, pinned their opponents back for most of the opening 45 minutes.
Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir tipped Giorgio Chiellini’s header over from a corner and Immobile headed off target before his low shot was comfortably saved.
Dutch referee Danny Makkelie was unimpressed when a cross struck Mehmet Zeki Celik’s arm and VAR backed his judgement shortly before the interval.
Italy deservedly broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute. Domenico Berardi took advantage of Umut Meras’ slip in the area and the Italian’s firm cross was deflected into the net off the chest of Demiral.
Demiral will not want to watch a replay of Italy’s opener[/caption]
Mancini’s side went in search of a second goal and Cakir was forced into a sprawling low save to keep out Manuel Locatelli’s shot.
Turkey were already beginning to look leggy and Italy struck their second in the 66th minute.
Leonardo Spinazzola’s low shot was saved by Cakir and Immobile pounced on the rebound for his 14th international goal.
Italy were still not finished. Cakir’s poor clearance went straight to Berardi and three passes later Insigne curled home an excellent finish.
Turkey’s best chance came in stoppage time, but Chiellini’s brilliant last-ditch tackle in the area denied Burak Yilmaz a shooting chance.
Both sides play their second games on Wednesday. Turkey take on Wales in Baku and Italy return to the Olympic Stadium to face Switzerland.