Euro 2020 Fantasy Results | Italy 3-0 Turkey Match Report
FFHub’s Deputy Editor @FFH_James reflects on an impressive opening display from one of the great footballing nations that finally look back to their best.
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Euro 2020 Fantasy Results | Italy’s Second Renaissance
When we hear the word “Renaissance” we might think of some of the great Italian painters. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto. The original Renaissance Men.
Italy finds itself in the midst of another Renaissance, only this time, it’s with a football that the artists create their masterpieces upon green canvas. Ciro Immobile, Domenico Berardi, Lorenzo Insigne, Leonardo Spinazzola. Italy’s new Renaissance Men.
It would’ve been easy for Italy to fold under the weight of the occasion. With the final notes of Andrea Bocelli’s Nessun Dorma still ringing in their ears, The Azzurri needed time to adjust to the stage. Like a Roomba feeling its way around a new house.
Turkey, meanwhile, have been tipped by many to surprise us in this tournament. It’s a testimony to Italy’s performance that, despite the talismanic Burak Yilmaz leading the line, the underdogs failed to muster a single shot on target.
Euro 2020 Fantasy Results | How Bad Were Turkey?
At the end of the game, Gary Lineker posed a question to his panel: “was it that Italy were too good or are Turkey just too poor?”. For me, it was impossible to discern from this game how good or bad Turkey actually are.
It would be unsurprising to see them go on to win the remainder of their group games. Undoubtedly they showed courage, seemingly undaunted by the spectacle of the pre-match pyrotechnics.
In the first half they showed a defensive resilience which, in a knockout format, may well prove to be a vital weapon against bigger and better teams.
Yet their apparent inability to create meaningful chances in the final third will need to be remedied. Yilmaz is a weapon with the ball; but like a gun without ammunition, his ability to make a deadly impact was totally nullified. Time will tell whether his lack of service is a credit to Italy’s organisation or an inditement of the players around him.
Euro 2020 Fantasy Results | Italy Impressive
When Italy returned to the dressing room at half-time, they might well have been frustrated not to have capitalised on their dominance. What could’ve been an opportunity to over-think and over-worry instead became an opportunity to regroup and double-down on what was a comfortable – if unspectacular – first half.
The ever-stylish Roberto Mancini made one change at half-time, introducing Giovanni Di Lorenzo at the expense of the injury-threatened Alessandro Florenzi. Within eight minutes, a stinging Berardi cross was turned in by a helpless Merih Demiral. The writing looked very much on the wall.
On the 66th minute, Immobile pounced on a parried Spinazzola effort with the trademark poaching instinct upon which he has made his name. Italy continued to press, and were rewarded with a third: a beautifully taken Insigne finish after a terrible clearance from Ugurcan Cakir.
Notably, Italy relentlessly pursued a fourth, at the expense of affording Yilmaz his first proper glimpse at goal in the closing moments of the game. In steps veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini, whose emphatic block was met with raucous, goal-like celebration.
Unlike the Italy of old, this does not appear to be a team content to sit and defend a 1-0 lead. As Mancini put it himself before the match, “we want to continue having fun”.
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Euro 2020 Fantasy Results | What Does it Mean for Fantasy?
Those backing Italy have been handsomely rewarded with not only a great performance, but a powerful statement about their aspirations in this contest.
Many will be faced with the option of sticking with an Italian captain – most likely Immobile or Insigne – or “twisting” and taking a punt on the likes of Lukaku today.
As an Immobile captainer myself, I’ll be taking his double attacking return and keeping the armband firmly put. If I had backed the likes of Insigne or Berardi, however, I’d be inclined to take a gamble and back the Belgians, the Dutch or the Portuguese in later fixtures.
Spinazzola looked like a gem in that Italian defence, simultaneously the beneficiary of their experienced backline and their creative attacking forces. He looks like the best pick in the Italian defence, though all could make a case for inclusion should Italy progress to the final stages of the tournament.
The trio of Berardi, Immobile and Insigne looked potent too. Indeed, all three registered attacking returns.
As for Turkey, the outlook isn’t quite so rosy. Though the measure of their ability (or lack of) will become apparent in their remaining group games, it’s clear that Yilmaz will be at the centre of everything positive they do. With the plethora of other options on offer, though, I’d steer clear.
Perhaps they can be revisited if they make it out of their group.
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Euro 2020 Fantasy Results | An Opening Night to Remember
Though a single game isn’t enough to discern a huge amount of footballing insight, one thing is abundantly clear: this match has set a promising tone for the rest of the tournament.
Played out between two teams capable of surprise, it was Italy who triumphed in Rome.
Their performance harked back to a footballing era in which The Azzurri were a dominant force, punctuated by stylish attacking football and masterful defending.
After an unbeaten qualifying run and a more than convincing return to major tournament football, it’s very possible that era has returned once more.
Other Euros Content
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