International

Euro 2020: Jorginho helps Italy into last-16

A second 3-0 victory in six days saw Italy become the first team to book a place in the last-16 at Euro 2020.

The Azzurri were impressive once again in Rome, combining style and substance against Switzerland, and ultimately ran out comfortable winners on home turf after a brace from Manuel Locatelli and Ciro Immobile’s late strike.

Their one change from Friday night’s win against Turkey was an enforced one as defender Alessandro Florenzi missed out, meaning Jorginho started once again in a three-man midfield alongside Locatelli and Nicolo Barella.

Marco Verratti, yet to feature at this tournament, should be fit for the knockout stages, adding to Roberto Mancini’s central options. Emerson Palmieri was an unused substitute once again.

Italy were hit with another injury blow as veteran Giorgio Chiellini limped off midway through the first half, having earlier seen a header ruled out by VAR for handball. 

Yet it mattered little in the end as the hosts dominated and took the lead moments after the defender’s withdrawal when Locatelli finished a sweeping move with a neat finish.

Jorginho produced a typically metronomic display in midfield, claiming more touches and completing more passes than any Italian on the field as he sat deeper to allow his midfield team-mates the licence to roam further forward.

Switzerland rarely threatened, with Locatelli making it 2-0 seven minutes after the restart and Immobile notching his second goal of the finals in the 89th minute. One last-ditch block late on typified the attitude of Mancini’s men to give nothing away and this was their 10th consecutive clean sheet, with 31 goals scored without reply and 10 wins recorded in that time.

That electric form and the careful balance of the team has seen their odds shorten with the bookmakers, who now rank Mancini’s men among the tournament favourites.

They will progress to the last-16 as group winners if they can avoid defeat to Wales on Sunday evening, with the Dragons needing just a point to secure a runners-up position following their crucial victory against Turkey earlier in the day.

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