Italy 3-0 Switzerland: Locatelli lights up Italy

by | Jun 16, 2021 21:50

Manuel Locatelli bagged a spectacular brace and Ciro Immobile scored from distance as Italy swept Switzerland aside 3-0 to qualify for the Euro 2020 Round of 16.

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The Azzurri opened with a 3-0 win over Turkey, while the Swiss were held 1-1 by Wales. A 2-0 Welsh victory earlier today means Italy can secure qualification for the Last 16 today, but not guarantee first place in Group A.

There was just one change, Giovanni Di Lorenzo stepping in for injured Alessandro Florenzi, as Marco Verratti was again not even on the bench.

The first big chance came on 10 minutes, Ciro Immobile’s header over the bar from a Leonardo Spinazzola cross at the by-line.

Giorgio Chiellini had the ball in the net at the 19th, but the goal was disallowed for handball, as it bounced off his arm after the header from the corner, allowing the defender to then fire in from six yards.

The night went from bad to worse for the Juventus veteran, as he then limped off with a muscular problem, replaced by Francesco Acerbi.

Italy did take the lead soon after with a goal made in Sassuolo, as Locatelli started it with a spectacular volleyed pass from his own half, sending Domenico Berardi down the right, to roll across so Locatelli could side-foot in from five yards.

Yann Sommer made a decisive intervention on Immobile and Insigne’s follow-up was cleared practically off the line.

Insigne then sent Leonardo Spinazzola clear with a weighted pass, but the finish with the outside of the boot whistled wide. The Napoli captain did the same for Immobile, who tested Sommer at the near post.

Di Lorenzo showed remarkable calm in defence, allowing a pass to go through his legs with a dummy to surprise Haris Seferovic.

Locatelli had just one goal in his previous 11 Italy caps, but completed his brace this evening with a ferocious strike from the D into the near bottom corner after a previous attack from Nicolò Barella had broken down. It made him the third player to score a brace for the Azzurri in the European Championship after Pierluigi Casiraghi in 1996 and Mario Balotelli in 2012.

Gianluigi Donnarumma’s first intervention came on 64 minutes, a double save on Zuber at the near post, while Berardi blasted over the bar after skinning Ricardo Rodriguez.

Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot was charged down, although the offside flag was up, and Immobile wasted two good opportunities by firing across the face of goal.

Locatelli went off with cramp and received a standing ovation from the Olimpico crowd as well as his teammates on the Italy bench.

After missing far easier chances, Immobile eventually got his goal with an absolute screamer from distance that flew into the far bottom corner after Rafael Toloi won back the ball.

Italy 3-0 Switzerland

Locatelli 26, 52 (I), Immobile 89 (I)

Italy: G Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella (Cristante 87), Jorginho, Locatelli (Pessina 87); Berardi (Toloi 69), Immobile, Insigne (Chiesa 69)

Switzerland: Sommer; Elvedi, Schär (Zuber 58), Akanji; Mbabu (Widmer 58), Freuler (Sow 84), Xhaka, Rodriguez; Shaqiri (Vargas 76), Embolo; Seferovic (Gavranovic 46)

Ref: Karasev (RUS)

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