International

Euro 2020: Jorginho and Italy kick off tournament with a win

Jorginho played a key role for Italy as they started Euro 2020 with a comfortable win over Turkey in the opening game of the tournament.

Playing on home soil in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Italy made a perfect start with a high-tempo possession-based performance to dismiss concerns about the lack of international experience in their squad, capped by a 3-0 victory over Turkey in a match they dominated from start to finish.

Jorginho took up a position and role that will have been very familiar to Chelsea fans from much of his time at Stamford Bridge, at the base of a midfield three while directing the tempo, winning back possession quickly and launching attacks. He had extra responsibility given that Marco Verratti, one third of the midfield trio which had Italy fans so excited going into the tournament, missed out due to injury.

Emerson also missed out on the starting line-up, with left-back one of manager Roberto Mancini’s tightest selection calls going into the Euros. In the end, the more physical Leonardo Spinazzola got the nod, with the Chelsea man on the bench.

After a nervous and scrappy first five minutes, Italy soon took firm control of the game and kept it throughout, with Jorginho highly influential. He showed why he is considered one of the senior members of this squad by issuing instructions to those ahead of him, sometimes even while on the ball, and snuffing out Turkey attacks before they could begin.

The number eight also created arguably Italy’s best chance of the first half, with a clever chip over the Turkey defence, but Domenico Berardi fluffed his lines and failed to make contact with an attempted volley.

That came during an intense spell of pressure from the Azzurri at the end of the first 45 minutes, but the teams went in goalless at the break as Italy failed to make their possession and chances count. Giorgio Chiellini went closest by forcing a fine save from Ugurcan Cakir at a corner, while Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile both failed to test the Turkey goalkeeper at the end of fine passing moves.

The Italy pressure did pay off with a goal early in the first half, although it took a slice of luck. After another quick passing move, a slip by Turkey left-back Umut Meras gave Berardi space in the box and when he smashed the ball across goal, defender Merih Demiral could only turn it into his own net.

That goal provided all the encouragement Italy needed to turn the screw, with Spinazzola and Manuel Locatelli testing the keeper in quick succession, and just 10 minutes later they had a second goal. Cakir saved Spinazzola’s initial effort from Berardi’s cross, but Immobile was on hand to slot in the rebound with a minimum of fuss.

By now Turkey seemed to have no answer to the quick-passing game led by Jorginho, with tiredness taking its toll, and when their keeper’s kick fell short a quick series of passes gave Insigne a chance. The Napoli forward calmly curled a shot inside the far post to complete the scoring as Jorginho and his Italy team-mates made a hugely promising start to Euro 2020.

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