BOXSCORE: ROME (June 16, 2021) – Masterful! Beautiful! After two rounds there are no words for what Italy has been doing in this tournament thus far.
A mix of high-pressure defensive tactics, typical of Italian football, but now under Roberto Mancini’s guidance, Italy attacks constantly pressing for goals.
After the fantastic 3-0 result versus Turkey in the first game, bettered themselves in today’s 3-0 effort versus the Swiss.
With the win, Italy has qualified for the Round of 16.
Italy almost solved the match in the first minutes of the game with their high-pressure style of play as Giorgio Chiellini’s shot found the back of the net only to be overturned by VAR.
Italy never bowed down they gave it all to attack and a fantastic play by Domenico Berardi led to a Manuel Locatelli goal to open the scoring 26 minutes into play.
The Italian pressure made it so Switzerland could not find a way to attack, even when Chiellini left the field feeling a pain in his thighs giving way to Francesco Acerbi.
Italy got its second goal at the beginning of the second half from a powerful Locatelli shot.
Throughout the second half Italy continued with its pressure combined with precision defense.
Italy was rewarded with a third goal late in the half after Brazilian born Rafael Tolói got the ball and passed to Ciro Immobile to score from outside the box the 3-0.
Bravissimo Italia, the second round has its first team capable of reaching the dying stages.
Italy 3-0 Switzerland
Goals: Locatelli 26′, 52′, Immobile 89′
Stadio Olimpico, Rome – ITA
Referee: Sergei Karasev- RUS
YC: Embolo, Gavranovic
Italy (4-3-3) – Donnarumma – Di Lorenzo, Bonucci (c), Chiellini (Acerbi), Spinazzola – Jorginho, Barella (Cristante), Locatelli (Pessina) – Berardi (Tolói), Insigne (Chiesa), Immobile
Coach: Roberto Mancini
Switzerland (3-4-1-2) – Sommer – Elvedi, Schär (Zuber), Akanji – Mbabu (Widmer), Freuler (Sow), Xhaka (c), Rodríguez – Shaqiri (Vargas) – Embolo, Seferovic (Gavranovic)
Coach: Valdimir Petkovic
Man of the Match – Manuel Locatelli – ITA
In the first match of the day, Russia had a knife to their neck entering their match against rival Finland in Saint Petersburg. Anything short of a victory would assuredly eliminate the Russias from advancing out of Group play after suffering a 3-0 defeat to the hands of Belgium.
Without a proper left-back, as both Fyodor Kudryashov and Yuri Zhirkov are hurt, left winger Daler Kuzyaev made a good run filling in at left defense while contributing to the Russia attack.
In the final minutes of the first half, the giant and captain Artem Dzyuba made a pivot in the Finnish end allowing for a fantastic strike from Aleksei Miranchuk.
In the second half, Russia controlled the match particularly after Finland’s main offensive threat Teemu Pukki left the field in exhaustion.
The possibility exists of all four teams having three points if a fierce Danish team emotionally recovers from the loss of Christian Eriksen and defeats Belgium in Copenhague.
Russia 1-0 Finland
Goal: Al.Miranchuk 45+2′
Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg – RUS
Referee: Danny Makkelie – NED
YC: Dzikhiya, Barinov, Ozdoev – O’Shaughnessy, Kamara
Russia (4-3-3) – Safonov – M.Fernandes (Karavaev), Diveev, Dzikhiya, Kuzyaev – Zobnin, Barinov, Ozdoev (Zhemaletdinov) – Al.Miranchuk (Mukhin), Golovin, Dzyuba (c) (Sobolev)
Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov
Finland (3-5-2) – Hradecky – Toivio (Jensen), Arajuuri (c), O’Shaughnessy – Raitala (Soyri), Schüller (Kauko), Kamara, Lod, Urinen – Pukki (Lappalainen), Pohjanpalo
Coach: Markku Kanerva
Man of the Match – Aleksei Miranchuk – RUS
The other match of Group A saw a fine display by veteran Gareth Bale, the man who led Wales to UEFA EURO semifinals in 2016. Now, as the playmaker of the team more than a scorer, he found Aaron Ramsey to make 1-0 on a brilliant pass that put Ramsey alone on Uğurcan Çakır.
Bale’s only negative came when he seemed to over-think on a penalty kick striking the ball over the cross bar. In the dying minute of penalty time, Bale made a fantastic play to Connor Roberts who buried an insurance goal virtually eliminating Turkey from the competition.
Turkey can only qualify as one of the third-best runners up if beat Switzerland by more than 5 goals. A surprisingly disappointing tournament for Turkey as they entered EURO 2020 as a dark-horse contender after being a leader in qualifiers having defeated The Netherlands 4-2 and Erling Haaland’s Norway, 3-0, in March.
Wales 2-0 Turkey
Goals: Ramsey 42′, C.Roberts 90+5′
Olympic Stadium, Baku – AZE
Referee: Artur Soares Dias – POR
YC: Mepham, B.Davies – Çalhanoglu, Burak Yilmaz
Wales (4-2-3-1) – Ward – C.Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, B.Davies – Morrell, Allen (Ampadu) – James (Williams), Ramsey (Wilson), Bale (c) – Moore
Coach: Rob Page
Turkey (4-3-3) – Ugurcan Çakır – Zeki Çelik, Kaan Ayhan, Söyüncü, Umut Meras (Mert Müldür) – Okay Yokuşlu (Yusuf Yazıcı), Ozan Tufan (Merih Demiral), Çalhanoglu – Karaman (Dervisoglu), Cengiz Ünler (Kahveci), Burak Yilmaz (c)
Coach: Senol Güneş
Man of the Match – Gareth Bale – WAL