Italy rode three second-half goals to a 3-0 win over Turkey in Group A of the opening match of the 2020 European Championship in Rome on Friday.
Postponed by a year, the biggest footballing event since the coronavirus brought the world to a halt kicked off Friday at the Stadio Olimpico — a milestone both for European and world sports.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy came into the match on a 27-match unbeaten run and their fine form showed early on as the Azzurri dominated possession and went close with a pair of headers from corner kicks just past the 20-minute mark.
Italy ratcheted up the pressure as half-time approached and, after some intricate build-up play, Ciro Immobile was sprung in the box only to fire right at Turkey keeper Ugurcan Cakir as the teams went into the break locked in a 0-0 draw.
The pressure on the Turkish defence finally told when Merih Demiral inadvertently chested the ball into his own net from a Domenico Berardi cross and Italy took the lead shortly after the restart.
A goalmouth scramble led to Italy’s second, with Immobile pouncing on a loose ball in front of the Turkish goal and firing home to double the advantage of Mancini’s side.
Lorenzo Insigne put the game away for Italy in the 79th minute, curling home a beautiful first-time shot after Turkey’s Cakir hooked a goal kick right to the opposing side and Italy pounced for their third. Italy’s third goal made history as it marked the first time they had scored three goals in a match at the Euros in their 39th attempt.
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“It was important to start well here in Rome and it is a joy for us and for all the Italians. It was a great evening, I hope there will be many more, but there are still six to go before Wembley”, Mancini told Rai.
Turkey will face Wales next in Group A action, while Italy play Switzerland, with both games played on Wednesday, June 16. After a build-up featuring a spine-tingling performance from opera singer Andrea Bocelli, a spectacular fireworks display and a typically raucous rendition of Italy’s national anthem, the 16,000-strong crowd was in fine voice by kick-off.
Italy were determined to make a strong start five years on from their last major tournament appearance, having failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and they started strongly. The visitors were happy to sit deep and invite pressure and rarely ventured into the Italian half throughout the opening period, but Mancini’s side were left frustrated in their efforts to break through the wall of red shirts.
Giorgio Chiellini had a header tipped over with a spectacular one-handed save by Cakir and Immobile nodded a cross wide as the hosts stretched the Turkish defence. Insigne curled a shot straight at Cakir from the edge of the box and Immobile fired into the keeper’s arms as Italy headed in at the break with 14 attempts to none from Turkey.
Italy’s patience was rewarded when Berardi fired a cross into the six-yard box where Demiral chested the ball into the net — the first time in European Championship history that the tournament’s opening goal was an own goal. Spinazzola had a shot beaten away and Manuel Locatelli’s low effort was palmed wide before Immobile doubled Italy’s lead by pouncing on Cakir’s parry from another Spinazzola effort to knock in the rebound.
The Azzurri’s dominance was rewarded again when Immobile threaded a pass to Insigne, who placed a precise finish into the bottom corner with 11 minutes remaining. Mancini told his players in the pre-match press conference that they should enjoy themselves and seek to entertain, and that was exactly what they did for a jubilant home crowd.
Reece James’ Sister, Lauren James Joins Chelsea Football Club
Lauren James, the sister to England’s and Chelsea’s right-back star, Reece James has completed the signing of 4-year contract with the Blues.
This was made official Friday, 24th July 2021. Lauren who formerly played for Manchester United expressed joy returning to Chelsea where she started her career at the age of six.
Messi Reaches Agreement With Barca For Another Five Years Contract
Lionel Messi’s future has of course been a major talking point in the world of football for some time now.
Following Barcelona’s hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League last season, Messi attempted to depart the Camp Nou via a clause in his contract.
However, after months of back and forth, the Argentine eventually opted to stay put for 2020/21.
But, despite having seen out the campaign with Barca, Messi’s future beyond the summer remains unclear at present.
This comes with the Argentine’s contract at the Camp Nou having now expired.
Reports at the end of April claimed that Messi was set to stay put, after positive talks between the club and his father.
However, little more information was forthcoming in the following months, Messi’s deal would then, of course, expire on July 1st when his deal ran out.
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Messi & Barca reach agreement over new deal
President Joan Laporta said that the club’s financial situation had caused the delay in agreeing another deal with Messi, though he seemed confident of getting a deal done at the time.
“We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay, it is all going well. We still have to deal with the issue of financial fair play. We are in the process of finding the best solution for both parties.”
This was then followed by reports that Barca could not register Messi or any of their new signings as they had exceeded the wage limits of La Liga.
Now though, ESPN have reported that Messi and Barcelona have reached an agreement over a new five-year deal.
It is understood that Messi has accepted a significant wage reduction to prolong his stay at the Camp Nou. An official announcement is expected in the coming days:
[BREAKING] UFC 263: Israel Adesanya defeats Vettori to retain middleweight title
Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya has retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight belt after defeating Italian contender, Marvin Vettori, at the Gila River Arena in Arizona on Sunday.
He won via a unanimous decision – 50-45, 50-45, 50-45.
The win is Adesanya’s third title defence after losing to Jan Blachowicz in a bid to add the light heavyweight title to his laurels.
Adesanya showed improvements on his groundwork as he expertly untangled himself from all of Vettori’s takedowns.
Renowned as one of the best strikers in the division, the 31-year-old landed several leg shots and jabs as he dimmed Vettori’s dream of becoming the first Italian UFC champion.
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It is the second time both fighters faced themselves in the UFC with Adesanya running out victorious via split decision in their first meeting in April 2018, which was the Nigerian’s second outing in the UFC franchise.
Both fighters have had heated conversations on social media and during press conferences but Adesanya had said he was ready to defend his title and rule the middleweight division after failing to secure the light heavyweight title from Poland’s Jan Blachowicz last March.
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