Dark Horses Turkey Falter as Italy Make Huge Statement

Italy made a huge statement in thrashing dark horses Turkey in Euro 2020’s opener. The Azzurri dominated throughout and prevented Turkey from even having a shot on target. We look at the key talking points from the game and assess both countries’ hopes for the rest of the competition.

Dark Horses Turkey Falter as Italy Make Huge Statement

Concern for Dark Horses Turkey

Turkey was touted by many as potential dark horses but their performance against Italy must be a huge setback. They were totally outplayed by the Italians, having no shots on target and only 37% of possession. The main area of concern was the midfield, where Yusuf Yazici and Ozan Tufan got outclassed by the much more composed Manuel Locatelli, Jorginho, and Nicolo Barella. The Turkey pair made only 33 passes combined, less than half of Jorginho’s tally of 76, proving the little impact they made on the game.

In attack, the faltering midfield left Burak Yilmaz isolated and feeding off scraps. He only managed 22 touches and could not show the form that helped him lead Lille to the Ligue 1 title. Dark horses Turkey will need to play much better if they want to live up to the name tag.

Italy Make Huge Statement

Italy was classed as outsiders coming into Euro 2020 but proved the doubters wrong with a comfortable 3-0 victory. The Italian squad does possess many top-class talents but has gone under the radar in England due to the lack of Premier League proven talent. Nicolo Barella just won Serie A with Inter Milan and Ciro Immobile has topped the scoring charts in that league for half a decade. Italy is a stronger team than many give them credit for and will definitely be a threat later in the competition.

The standout man for Italy was left-back Leonardo Spinazzola. The Roma player caused Turkey trouble all night and was Italy’s main attacking threat in the first half. He got forward often and rarely gave the ball away, registering a 86% pass completion. Another surprise star was right-winger Domenico Berardi. He looked threatening throughout and played a key part in the opener, as he crossed the ball which Merih Demiral bundled into his own goal. If Berardi continues his good performances all tournament, Sassuolo will surely be receiving some offers for his services.

What’s Next

Next, Turkey takes on Wales likely needing to win to keep their Euro 2020 hopes alive while Italy takes on Switzerland knowing a win may secure their place in the last 16. If Italy beats Switzerland, they could give veterans Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci a much-needed rest ahead of the knockout stages.

Turkey knows they must attack better to have any chance of advancing so expect them to play with renewed energy and intent against Wales on Wednesday. Depending on Wales’ result against Switzerland. The game may technically become a knockout and Italy should secure first place in the group but the battle for second is still wide open.

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