The Azzurri, now unbeaten in 29 matches and having won their last 10 games without conceding a goal, occupy first place in Group A
Italy became the first team to reach the round of 16 at Euro 2020 as midfielder Manuel Locatelli scored twice in a 3-0 win over Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday, while the Country of Wales was about to join them in defeating Turkey.
The Azzurri, now unbeaten in 29 matches and having won their last 10 games without conceding a goal, sit first in Group A and are sure to finish in the top two and place in the bottom 16.
“We played well, we wanted to win at all costs,” said Italy coach Roberto Mancini. RAI.
“They started well, it was not easy to win a second game in five days.”
Mancini’s men, who are looking to win a second European title in Italy after their only success in 1968, host Wales in their final group game on Sunday, with first place up for grabs.
A new star shone for Italy at Stadio Olimpico, where they sidelined Turkey 3-0 in the tournament’s opener last week, as Sassuolo’s Locatelli scored twice before Ciro Immobile’s third goal .
Captain Giorgio Chiellini saw a first effort ruled out by VAR for handball, before the 36-year-old defender was forced to leave what appeared to be a thigh injury.
But the hosts always looked at the more dangerous side and took the lead in the 26th minute.
Locatelli played a wonderful volley pass to Sassuolo teammate Domenico Berardi on the wing, who propelled to signing and selected Locatelli for a single tap-in.
The three points and a place in the knockout stage for the fourth consecutive European Championship were practically secured within seven minutes after the break, when a smooth movement ended with Locatelli sending a left-footed shot into the lower corner of the outside of the surface.
Immobile had spoiled a few chances earlier, but netted his second goal of the tournament in the 89th minute, managing a weak effort in front of Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
Switzerland will now likely have to beat Turkey in Baku on Sunday to advance to the next round.
Awe-inspiring Wales pushes back Turkey
After drawing 1-1 with the Swiss in their first Group A game, Wales now have four points in two matches after goals from Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts beat disappointing Turkey 2-0 .
“You would like to think so, but we’ll have to wait and see,” Welsh captain Gareth Bale said when asked if his side had done enough to pass.
“If you had given us four points at the start, we would have cut your hand off.”
Senol Gunes’ side, roared by the majority of the crowd in Azerbaijan, have lost their two games without scoring and face a mountain to climb if they want to qualify.
Wales, a semi-finalist five years ago, should have won more convincingly but have lost several chances, including a second-half penalty which was handed out by Bale.
As many as 4,000 Turkish fans traveled for the game, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but Wales immediately took the lead and Ramsey wasted two excellent chances from the start.
He wasn’t wrong three minutes before the break, however, crushing Bale’s pass and coming home.
Bale, whose future at Real Madrid is uncertain, won a penalty just after the hour mark but was unusually finicky.
Robert Page’s Wales scored the second goal his performance deserved in stoppage time, as Bale danced and pushed Roberts to sweep the net.
In the first game of the day, Russia beat their Finnish neighbors 1-0 in St. Petersburg thanks to Aleksei Miranchuk’s goal just before half-time to score their first points in Group B.
This opens the section after Russia lost 3-0 to Belgium in their opener this weekend. Finland had beaten Denmark 1-0 in Copenhagen on Saturday, a game completely overshadowed by Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest.
Belgium will make Eriksen’s gesture
Belgium could almost confirm their place in the round of 16 on Thursday when they face Denmark in Copenhagen.
The game will be the Danes’ first since Eriksen had to be restarted at Parken Stadium against Finland on Saturday.
The players and the crowd, with up to 25,000 fans allowed to attend, will pay tribute to the Inter Milan player with a minute of applause in the 10th minute.
“Several of our players have played with him,” said Eriksen’s Inter Milan team-mate and Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who added the players would take the ball out of play in the 10th minute.
“But tomorrow we will be there to win the game, which promises to be difficult.”
Depending on the outcome of the first match of the day between Ukraine and North Macedonia in Group C, the Netherlands could qualify with a win over Austria in Amsterdam.