Italy make flying start to Euro 2020 with dominant opening win over Turkey squib

Well hello there, Italy. It’s good to have you back. On a taut and muggy night in Rome, a statement performance from what we now have to describe as one of the favourites: a vivid and thrilling display of smart attacking football. Five years after their last appearance in a major tournament, three decades after this country last hosted one, Italy began their Euro 2020 campaign with the impatience and resolve of a team eager to make up for lost time.

Perhaps the most important element of this performance was its emotional maturity: the way Italy regrouped after a goalless first half and reapplied themselves to their task. You wondered if, given the weight of the occasion, given the stakes involved, given their tournament history and the expectation of the limited 16,000 crowd, Italy’s stage fright might get the better of them. Instead it was the highly-fancied Turks who fluffed their lines, struggling to get any sort of foothold in the game, and ultimately powerless to arrest Italy’s irresistible second-half momentum. They will need to improve significantly in order to progress.

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