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Sinners & Saints: Turkey 0, Italy 3

The Azzurri ranks were full of halos as Italy opened Euro 2020 in impressive fashion.

Turkey vs Italy - EURO 2020 Photo by Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Nearly five years. That’s how long it was since we’d seen the Azzurri on the pitch for a major international competition. And after watching them thoroughly dismantle Turkey in the opening match of Euro 2020, it felt like this win was brewing for just as long.

Italy came in with a plan and group of players motivated to show Europe and the world that the missed World Cup of 2018 was an aberration; a deviation from the norm. And that norm is Italy always being a threat to lift a trophy at a major tournament. The Azzurri played that part with their performance yesterday, which was incredibly the first time they’d EVER scored three goals in a Euro match.

It’s only one match and still a bit early to know just how far the Azzurri can truly go. Nevertheless, in the end, the qualification failure may soon look to be a blessing in disguise. A blessing that allowed Italy to appoint Roberto Mancini, whose been instrumental in ushering in a new generation of Italian talents—one that is adorned in halos after yesterday’s performance.

The Saints

Leonardo Spinazzola

No, he’s not leading the way just because we’re a Roma site. Spinazzola was named man of the match yesterday and for good reason. The left-back was a constant threat down Turkey’s right flank as he was allowed to maraud forward with Italy dominating possession.

Spina dominated the stat sheet yesterday (see above). He nearly scored a goal that turned into an assist for Immobile’s goal and likely prevented Cengiz Ünder from getting a clear shot on target by using his blazing speed to track down the Turk on the break. If people are worried about him in Mourinho’s back four, he showed yesterday that he’s more than up to snuff.

Ciro Immobile

Turkey vs Italy - EURO 2020 Photo by Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Immobile didn’t receive the most service yesterday in the first half as Turkey defended in numbers, but the Lazio striker kept his head in the game and made the most of his 32 touches. Immobile scored Italy’s second and assisted Insigne on the third. It was a quality performance for a man who is always under the microscope when he trades in the Biancoceleste for the Azzurro. If he has his scoring boots on, Italy will be tough to beat.

Domenico Berardi

Turkey v Italy - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Sassuolo man has finally started to live up to all the hype that surrounded him early in his career when he was a brash youngster. Now 26-years-old, Berardi put in a mature performance as he got the start over Federico Chiesa. Berardi led the Azzurri with five key passes. He also put in three accurate long balls and four crosses (two accurate), one of which was put into the back of Turkey’s net on Demiral’s OG to open Italy’s scoring.


Turkey v Italy - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The metronome of the Azzurri continues to show why he’s such a vital cog in any side he plays on. The midfielder was second only to Chiellini with 93 touches and completed nearly 94% of his passes with three key passes. He also led Mancini’s side with three tackles and four interceptions. A solid two-way performance in the center of the park.

Lorenzo Insigne

Turkey v Italy - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A Photo by Andrew Medichini - Pool/Getty Images

The Napoli man carried his blistering scoring pace from the league to the national side yesterday, scoring Italy’s historic third goal. Insigne was a constant threat to Turkey’s defense, always putting himself in dangerous positions, and his work was rewarded late when he curled Immobile’s pass past Cakir. Besides the goal, Insigne had three key passes, two accurate crosses, and two accurate long balls as he tried to play in teammates throughout the match. Perhaps the old Pescara connection with Immobile is hitting its full potential for the national side.

After a performance like that one, there can only be saints and no sinners. Check back after Italy vs Switzerland to see if the Azzurri look just as angelic after their next match.