Euro 2020: Mancini plays down Italy title talks

Roberto Mancini has played down talk about Italy becoming contenders for the European Championships after beating Turkey 3-0 by saying there’s a “long way to go” to Wembley.

The Azzurri got their tournament off to a flying start as three second-half goals clinched victory over their Group A opponents on Friday night, with the strikes coming courtesy of Merih Demiral’s own goal, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne.

Italy have been branded as many pundits’ dark horses for the tournament but Mancini cooled any discussions about becoming contenders for the Wembley final on July 11 after the opening day win.

In his post-match interview, Mancini said: “We had a good game, it was important to start well here in Rome, and I think it is a satisfaction for everyone with us, for the public and all Italians.

“It was a beautiful evening, I hope there are many others like this.”

When pressed about his side’s chances of winning Euro 2020, Mancini said, “There’s still a long way to go, there are still six (steps towards Wembley).”

Italy were frustrated by Turkey during the first-half at the Stadio Olimpico, with the opening match played in front of 16,000 supporters in the Italian capital.

Mancini’s men dominated the possession but the two teams created very little in the opening 45 minutes, with the best chance falling to Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, who had a free header from a corner saved from close range.

Mancini praised not only his side’s patience but the support from the Rome crowd, with the Italy boss confirming that the many Italians inside the stadium made a difference on Friday night.

He continued, “We played a good game, even in the first half without being able to score. It wasn’t easy, we were at our first game and they are a great team. There was a lot of help from the crowd, the team played really well.

“We are happy. It was decisive to move the ball quickly in order to reach the opposition goal with the extra man (out wide).

“We have played many teams that have done what Turkey did this evening. They put everyone (back) there, give you little space and make it hard for you to score,” said Mancini.

“But the lads had patience. We waited, kept playing, tried to get that goal, then we got it. The lads did really well.

PUNCH

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