On paper, the opening match of Euro 2020/1 promised to be a good one. Italy, one of the pre-tournament favorites after a nearly faultless qualifying campaign were playing a home game in Rome against Turkey, a popular dark horse pick.
The match still turned out to be pretty decent entertainment, and not just because the matchball was delivered by a remote control car for kick-off. No, that’s not a joke.
Italy dominated from the off and while Turkey held out for a scoreless half-time result, they could not replicate those efforts in the second 45 as an own goal from Merih Demiral, plus strikes from Lazio’s Ciro Immobile (in his home stadium) and Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne propelled the Azzurri to an impressive 3-0 victory.
All along, Italy’s midfield trio controlled proceedings, with Manuel Locatelli and Nicolò Barella (remember when Conte wanted to sign him?) marshaled by Chelsea’s own Jorginho, who hardly put a foot or a pass wrong, save for the one time he was undersold on one by his right back and Turkey counter ineffectively.
•Jorginho as the metronome to build play from the back.— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) June 11, 2021
•Locatelli as a deeper left-sided 8 (Verratti’s role) progressing the ball forwards.
•Barella as an advanced right-sided 8 to create & overload with Berardi on the right.
The balance of Italy’s midfield 3 is top class pic.twitter.com/6A0o967mWb
This wasn’t Sarri’s Jorginho. This was Chelsea’s Champions League-winning Jorginho, to be sure. This is his first major international tournament after not making the cut for Euro 2016 and Italy failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and it was a perfect first game for him.
Jorginho vs Turkey:— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) June 11, 2021
76 completed passes (93.8%)
3 key passes
2/2 successful dribbles
5/6 ground duels won
Outstanding display. pic.twitter.com/jaBcM8v3kH
Jorginho played the full 90, with Italy next set to take on Switzerland then Wales to finish out their group campaign. Emerson did not see action today, but if the team play as well as they did today, he will surely see some minutes in mop-up duty, if nothing else.