Italy are the FIRST team through to Euro 2020 knockout stages as Roberto Mancini’s impressive Azzurri cruise to another 3-0 victory over Switzerland, with Manuel Locatelli netting two and Ciro Immobile on target
- Italy have booked their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2020 after a confident 3-0 win over Switzerland
- Manuel Locatelli was the star of the night as he netted a brilliant double to set the Azzurri on their way
- Forward Ciro Immobile added a third to make it a comfortable evening for Roberto Mancini’s men in Rome
- Their only sour note was losing captain Giorgio Chiellini through injury after his opening goal was ruled out
- Euro 2020 fixtures, results and television guide in full
- Euro 2020 complete squad list of every player in the tournament
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
Manuel Locatelli had never scored twice in a match during his professional career before Wednesday but picked the perfect time to do so to send Italy into the last-16.
The stylish midfielder struck either side of half-time and Ciro Immobile added a late third as Italy saw off Switzerland and conjured memories of the 1990 World Cup in their home country.
That summer the Azzurri were eliminated in the semi-finals, when Roberto Mancini was in the squad but never made it on to the pitch.
The former Manchester City boss is having far greater influence as Italy coach as his side followed up the 3-0 victory over Turkey with a similarly composed display here, though Mancini will be concerned at the first-half injury to captain Giorgio Chiellini, while key midfielder Nicolo Barella also took a heavy whack in the second half.
Italy became the first team at Euro 2020 to book their place in the last-16 after a confident 3-0 win over Switzerland
Midfielder Manuel Locatelli (centre) was the hero for the Italians after netting a brilliant brace to give them daylight in Rome
His second goal capped off a superb passing move from Roberto Mancini’s men, with Locatelli slamming home from distance
‘I am lucky to have such good players, and they have room for improvement’ said Mancini. ‘Many of them are young and still haven’t played in the Champions League or the Europa League.
‘You have France, Portugal and Belgium – one of those are world champions, another are European champions and the other are the No 1 ranked side in the world.
‘There are teams in this tournament who in terms of maturity are ahead of us, but anything can happen in football. I try to explain my ideas to the players and until now they have been excellent.’
This result was also welcomed by Wales, who need just a point in Rome on Sunday to be sure of second place in the group – and they will finish top if they win. Switzerland struggled all night but can still qualify for the last-16 by beating Turkey in their final game.
Italy thought they had taken an early lead when Chiellini tapped home from a corner, before it was ruled out by VAR – with the Juventus star then forced to be withdrawn in what was the only sour note for Italy on a night they reached the knockout stage
Rising Sassuolo star Locatelli put Italy ahead moments later, poking home from close range after Domenico Berardi’s cross
Locatelli is catching the eye for Italy this summer and is said to be tracked by the likes of Manchester City and Juventus
‘We were insecure on the pitch which is normally not in our character,’ admitted boss Vladimir Petkovic. ‘It’s disappointing.’
Playing in front of their own fans in a major tournament for the first time in 31 years, Italy were keen to get on the front foot early in the game.
Leonardo Spinazzola, who was so impressive in the opening-night victory over Turkey, created their first chance of the match.
The Roma full-back cruised past Nico Elvedi on the right of the Swiss back three and delivered the ball perfectly for the unmarked Immobile, who should have done better than head over from six yards.
The home side were having the bulk of possession and thought they had taken the lead in the 19th minute when Lorenzo Insigne’s corner rebounded off Chiellini and the veteran defender reacted quickest to smash the loose ball past Yann Sommer.
MATCH FACTS, RATINGS AND LIVE GROUP TABLE
Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma 7; Di Lorenzo 7, Bonucci 7, Chiellini 6 (Acerbi 24, 6), Spinazzola 6.5; Barella 8 (Pessina 87), Jorginho 7.5, Locatelli 8.5 (Cristante 86); Berardi 7 (Toloi 70, 6), Immobile 5, Insigne 6.5 (Chiesa 69, 6).
Subs not used: Sirigu, Belotti, Emerson, Bernardeschi, Raspadori, Bastoni, Meret.
Scorers: Locatelli 26, 52
Manager: Roberto Mancini 7
Switzerland (3-4-1-2): Sommer 6; Elvedi 5.5, Schar 6 (Zuber 58, 6.5), Akanji 6; Mbabu 5.5 (Widmer 58, 6), Freuler 5.5, Xhaka 5.5, Rodriguez 6; Shaqiri 5.5 (Vargas 76); Seferovic 5 (Gavranovic 46, 6), Embolo 6.
Subs not used: Zakaria, Mvogo, Sow, Fassnacht, Benito, Mehmedi, Kobel, Comert.
Booked: Gavranovic, Embolo
Manager: Vladimir Petkovic 5.5
Referee: Sergey Karasev 6
The 23-year-old nabbed his second goal of the night after the break, and was promptly mobbed by the rest of his team-mates
Yet Italy’s celebrations were cut short as the ball had struck Chiellini’s arm before falling invitingly for him, and VAR swiftly ruled the goal out.
Chiellini was frustrated, and his evening was ended five minutes later when the Juventus centre-back felt a muscle twang as he collected possession. He was replaced by Francesco Acerbi and, given Chiellini turns 37 in August, it was natural to wonder whether this may have been his final appearance at a major tournament.
Italy certainly hope not, and they responded to this setback in the best possible fashion. Locatelli volleyed a marvellous pass to Domenico Berardi on the right and immediately burst forward into the penalty area, meaning he was presented with a simple tap-in when Berardi cut the ball back.
Switzerland were struggling to release the pressure although in attack, the pace of Breel Embolo ensured Italy were always wary. At the other end, Spinazzola was allowed to carry the ball into the box and find space for a shot, which he guided just wide of the post from eight yards.
Switzerland coach Petkovic had seen enough from his side’s drab first-half performance and hauled off ineffective frontman Haris Seferovic, sending on Mario Gavranovic.
Switzerland had very few chances to shout about as a stubborn Italian defence frustrated them, though Zubar went closest
Ciro Immobile was largely wasteful on the night, but eventually got on the scoresheet after smashing home a third goal
Italy will rightly be one of the teams to beat in this competition after two big wins, though greater tests are yet to come
Boss Mancini will be delighted with Italy’s start, though he must get Immobile firing with more accuracy in the latter stages
Italy were hoping for an early second goal to settle their nerves and Locatelli obliged in impressive fashion.
Again Berardi found space on the right and when the ball was worked to Locatelli on the edge of the box, a flash of his left boot sent the ball fizzing past Sommer. The goalkeeper was unsighted by two defenders in his eyeline and was motionless as the ball sped towards him.
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma had enjoyed quiet hour before he was suddenly called into action.
After Elvedi had won the ball from Insigne, the visitors suddenly had a man over on the left and substitute Steven Zuber forced a double save from Donnarumma. He should probably have done better.
The same could be said for Berardi who fired well over moments later after a rapid counter-attack.
A very late offside flag allowed Xherdan Shaqiri to fire in a fierce effort that was well blocked, while Immobile – on target against Turkey – showed some familiar flaws in an Italy shirt by shooting wide from an excellent position inside the penalty area.
If Italy are to mix it with the strongest teams in this competition, they will need their leading marksman to be a little more accurate.
Immobile did finally take his chance in the 89th minute with an effort from 25 yards that crept in off the post, though Sommer really should have parried it with greater strength and kept it out.
Italy midfielder Jorginho and his Switzerland counterpart Granit Xhaka battle for supremacy in the middle of the park
Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri looks to get his side going in the early stages of the game while Spinazzola chases behind
Italy’s attacking midfielder Lorenzo Insigne was a huge threat throughout and had a couple of chances early on to score
Immobile struggled for most of the game as he is challenged from behind by Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji
Relive all the action from the night at the Stadio Olimpico with OLI GAMP’s live blog
It’s six goals at Euro 2020 for Italy, it’s a 10th win in a row without conceding and they’re marching on to the last 16.
A brilliant double from Manuel Locatelli – first a tap in and then a powerful strike from range – put the Azzurri on their way before Ciro Immobile smashed in a third. The Italians also had a goal ruled out early on through VAR and lost Chiellini, but it’s full steam ahead to the knockout stages.
We’ll have to wait until the group stage is over, but for now – Italy look very much like the team to beat at this competition, and who expected that?
Just the three minutes added on.
He hasn’t had the best of nights here, but Ciro Immobile is finally on the scoresheet.
It’s game, set and match and Italy have three again as Rodriguez’s clearance bounces off an Italy player and Immobile has the space to shoot just outside the D. Sommer gets a hand on it but it squirms into the corner anyway. Should do better, the keeper.
The Azzurri are well worth this lead.
Slight concern as Locatelli is on the turf. Doesn’t look too serious but Mancini hooks him – to a standing ovation from the Olimpico crowd.
On comes Matteo Pessina, while Bryan Cristante is introduced for Inter Milan’s Barella.
Switzerland having lots of the ball, which Italy are happy for them to do, but there’s no danger coming from them as another cross from the right fizzes away from the goalmouth.
Another change as Sow comes on for Freuler.
Embolo in the book after trampling on the heels of Barella. That looked nasty. We talked about him being the danger man but he’s been so isolated.
You wonder when Italy are going to concede their first goal. They haven’t let one in since October 2020 – Donny van de Beek was the man who last put one past them.
Should be three! What a brilliant run by Chiesa, who surges through the middle and slots it in for Immobile down the left from a similar angle to moments ago, but again he can’t hit the target and his effort is wayward.
Shaqiri’s evening is over and he comes off for Vargas.
A beautiful long-range pass finds Zubar – who finds Shaqiri in a crowded penalty area. He does well to flick it up away from an incoming boot and lets fly… before a very belated flag comes up for offside.
Moments later, Immobile flashes wide from an angle after Italy played a quick free kick.
The impressive Insigne is given a rest – on comes Federico Chiesa.
Berardi – also one of Italy’s best players tonight – is off for Toloi.
Switzerland’s best move of the game sees Gavranovic and Shaqiri link up well again, before Zubar is played in on the left hand side – he shapes to shoot but waits too long and Donnarumma deflects his shot out.
The keeper will be grateful to have been forced into action for once. At the other end – Berardi is through on the right flank and switches it to his left. His shot goes over under pressure from Akanji.
They’re not giving up, the Swiss. Shaqiri – their biggest creative threat – goes on a mazy run after collecting from Gavranovic but his effort is high, wide and not so handsome.
Around half an hour to play and Italy fans are already bringing out the ‘olay’s as their team string together some passes to assert their dominance.
So, where do the Swiss go from here? They make two more changes is what they do.
Double switch sees Widmer and Zuber come on for Schar and Mbabu, who had looked like their most prominent threat.
He’s done it again!
If I was Andy Gray I’d say “Take a bow son”.
What a sweeping move this was. Berardi is key down the right after collecting from Immobile, with Di Lorenzo overlapping and finding Barella – who lays it off for Locatelli just outside the box. He thumps it low and into the corner for his second of the night.
Just like that, Italy are now in cruise control.
Italy under a spot of pressure here as Embolo tries to stretch the back line – the Azzurri clear their lines, but only as far as Mbabu, who pumps a dangerous cross in that the Italians have to hook out for a throw.
Italy get us back underway again.
Switzerland have made a change as they look to get back in this. Seferovic is off for Gavranovic. If you’ve never heard of him, he just scored 19 goals for Dinamo Zagreb this season.
The first period belongs to the Italians.
They’ve looked comfortable so far. They had a goal disallowed through Chiellini, then lost their skipper with an injury, but that didn’t deter them. Locatelli started and finished an excellent move after slotting home from Berardi’s cross.
They’ve been dominant on the ball and the Swiss are yet to give them anything to worry about. After 45 minutes, Mancini’s men have one foot in the knockouts.
Last time for Switzerland to push forwards in this half – Embolo holds it up well on the right and jostles with Acerbi, who is all over him, and the Italian earns his side the goal kick after shafting him aside.
Two minutes added on.
Immobile looks like he can’t keep the ball in play as it rolls towards the byline – but he makes contact and hooks it towards the top corner – Sommer springing into life to parry it away.
Italy will be happy with this so far, Switzerland haven’t been able to carve out any real chances at all.
Better from the Swiss as a surging move goes across to Rodriguez, who slams his cross out for a corner – which Italy clear and immediately hit them on the break.
Spinazzola works some space on the left but should do better as he bears down on goal – he can only toe-poke it wide.
Switzerland are trying to keep the ball but they run into trouble from the Italian press – with Sommer forced to dramatically claw the ball away to thwart Insigne, who was fast approaching from the left flank.
This one counts!
There’s a lot of hype about this player and Locatelli is on the scoresheet – thumping home from point blank range after a brilliant surging run down the right wing from Berardi.
He looks up and squares it after racing to the byline and Locatelli could not miss – he had started the move too. Italy have lift off in Rome.
Italy need to put that disappointment behind them quickly and Switzerland look to capitilise on any lapse in focus – Shaqiri charges down the left and loops a cross that flies over everyones’ heads and away from danger.
Shame for Chiellini. He’s pulled a hamstring and he’s off for Acerbi. The captain thought he’d put his country ahead and now his night is over.
Well well well.
Italy’s celebrations are cut short as VAR spots a handball by Giorgio Chiellini while going up to challenge Akanji at a corner before slotting home. Relief for the Swiss.
Shaqiri tries to dance around Jorginho but clatters him and gives away a free kick.
Insigne combines well with Immobile but balloons an effort over the bar after collecting a one-two. It’s all easy on the eye but Italy’s play needs a better end product.
Italy really ramping up the pressing now as Verratti whacks a shot into a wall of Switzerland players and away.
Insigne goes down in the box under a challenge but there’s nothing doing.
The Azzurri now getting more of a foothold in possession but the Swiss intercept and launch a route one ball that finds Embolo. Chiellini puts the tackle in but Italy need to keep an eye on the forward.
At the other end, the dangerous Spinazzola clips in a cross on a plate for Immobile – whose header goes well over.
Great play by Italy – Mancini has the Azzurri set up with a great style as they spray a few passes around with one twos, Insigne lifting the ball over the Swiss back line but Immobile cant quite make contact.
Energetic start here. Switzerland control the early possession before Italy break and burst forwards with Berardi – who is chopped down by Xhaka, now sporting a blond haircut.
Leonardo Bonucci lets out a huge roar after the team all belted out Il Canto degli Italiani, and Switzerland get us underway here at the Stadio Olimpico.
We’re almost ready in Rome. What a beautiful evening as we start with the national anthems.
A reminder of the teams:
ITALY: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola, Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli, Berardi, Immobile, Insigne.
SWITZERLAND: Sommer, Elvedi, Schar, Akanji, Mbabu, Freuler, Xhaka, Rodriguez, Shaqiri, Seferovic, Embolo.
Quarter of an hour to go and we are ready to go. Switzerland players putting the final touches on their preparations on the turf as they bid to stun the Azzurri.
Do they have enough? Defeat here would leave their Euro dreams in tatters.
Here are the latest betting odds for the game tonight, provided by BetFair.
Ciro Immobile first scorer: 4/1
Breel Embolo first scorer: 12/1
Lorenzo Insigne anytime scorer: 12/5
Haris Seferovic anytime scorer: 7/2
Italy to win 1-0: 9/2
Switzerland to win 1-0: 12/1
1-1 draw: 6/1
Italy to win 3-0: 11/1
Ciro Immobile to score a hat-trick: 55/1
Switzerland couldn’t find a way to win their first game against Wales, and face an uphill battle to make the knockouts ahead of this tough test.
But one player who really stood out in their last game was forward Breel Embolo, who was a real handful for the Wales backline with his strength and speed – scoring their only goal of the game.
He will be the biggest dangerman for Italy, who will also need to lock down the creative threat of Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka in midfield.
Just over half an hour until we’re underway in Rome. Italy players are warming up.
So Wales actually top the standings for now after that huge win over Turkey.
Italy can go to six points with a win tonight before playing the Welsh in the final group stage game to decide who comes top.
Italy could have won the group outright today if Wales failed to beat Turkey, but that won’t happen just yet after Gareth Bale and Co secured a vital 2-0 win in Baku.
Robert Page’s men missed a succession of chances, including two from Aaron Ramsey, but the Juventus midfielder eventually netted the opener, with Connor Roberts scoring at the death to make it two after Gareth Bale missed a penalty.
The Real Madrid star and Wales captain was superb throughout despite blazing over his spot kick with two brilliant assists. There were great scenes at the end with Wales fans in tears and Bale giving a rallying cry to his delirious team-mates.
It’s as you were for the Swiss, who will play the exact same team that drew 1-1 against Wales on the weekend.
SWITZERLAND: Sommer, Elvedi, Schar, Akanji, Mbabu, Freuler, Xhaka, Rodriguez, Shaqiri, Seferovic, Embolo
Here is Italy’s starting XI. Mancini makes one change to his side – with Di Lorenzo coming in for Florenzi at right back.
ITALY: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola, Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli, Berardi, Immobile, Insigne.
Well, we still have more than an hour until kick-off, but some fans have already made their way through the turnstiles in Rome and taken their seats as they look to soak up the atmosphere and make the most of their experience.
Around 16,000 fans will be allowed to watch this one, in line with Italy’s Covid restrictions, but the limited capacity will still make a roaring noise after producing a great buzz for the Euros opener last week.
Last Friday we all watched on as Italy kicked things off at Euro 2020 and they sent out a message to show they are here to be taken seriously, despite being labelled as dark horses for the competition.
Despite a tentative start, the Azzurri were impressive from start to finish and caught the eye with their expansive style of play under Roberto Mancini. Merih Demiral had put the ball into his own net for the opener before Ciro Immobile prodded home a second.
A class finish from Lorenzo Insigne rounded off a brilliant night for Italy with three points on the board.
What they would give for a repeat of that performance tonight.
Welcome to our live coverage of Italy v Switzerland. The Italian Job is simple tonight – come away with three points and secure a place in the knockout rounds of Euro 2020.
Roberto Mancini’s men will become the first team to reach the next stage if they can overcome the challenge of the Swiss, having made a real statement to beat Turkey 3-0 in the tournament opener. Their opponents are seeking their first win after drawing with Wales last time out.
Join me for all the latest updates, line-ups and hopefully goals in Rome. Kick off is at 20:00 BST.
Source: Read Full Article