Mid field tussle
Mid field tussle

Rome: Italy scored three goals in a Euro match for the first time in their history as they swept aside Turkey in the opening game at the Olimpico here on Saturday.

The Italians laid down a marker in the opening fixture with their biggest ever win in the competition, but they were forced to bide their time in a frustrating first period. Wasteful finishing and a moment of brilliance from goalkeeper Ugurcan Çakır to deny a powerful Giorgio Chiellini header meant it was level at the break.

"We played well. With it being the first match, it wasn't easy and we were up against a good team. The crowd helped us, and it was crucial for us to move the ball quickly," said the Italian coach Roberto Mancini, after the match.

It did not stay that way for long after the restart. Eight minutes into the second half, Domenico Berardi drove into the area and thumped in a low cross of such venom that Merih Demiral could not adjust his body to deflect it clear, instead inadvertently sending it into his own net. The Azzurri were up and running.

Reacting to the defeat, Senol Gunes, the visitors coach, stated, "It was not our day. We started to lose the ball and couldn’t get forward. Italy were better, we lost to the better team. This is a tournament. We have two more games. We will prepare ourselves for the Wales game first".

Ciro Immobile opened his finals account 13 minutes later, pouncing on a loose ball and firing past Uğurcan. Turkey had no answer to the home side's fluidity in Rome, and Lorenzo Insigne inflicted further damage when he curled in a wonderful third 11 minutes from time. Italy will take some stopping on this evidence.

The victory extended Italy's unbeaten run to 28 matches and boosted the Azzurri's status as a title contender.

Italy, which won its only European title in 1968, had never before scored more than two goals at the European Championship, according to UEFA.

The Stadio Olimpico was still only 25% full because of coronavirus measures and fans sat in small groups safely distanced from one another. Still, the crowd of about 16,000 was the largest gathering in Italy since the pandemic took hold.

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