W.A few minutes before the final whistle, the match winner got his well-deserved applause. Most of the around 15,000 fans in the Olympic Stadium in Rome stood up and clapped when Manuel Locatelli left the square. With two goals, the midfielder had initiated Italy’s 3-0 (1-0) victory against Switzerland on Wednesday evening and thus the early entry into the European Championship round of 16.
“That was a fantastic game, I still can’t quite believe it,” said the 23-year-old, who is under contract with US Sassuolo Calcio in Serie A. With 29 games in a row without defeat, the Azzurri have further consolidated their reputation as European championship contenders.
Two wins and 6-0 goals – this is the impressive tournament result of the football selection from the country of the four-time world champions so far. “You have to play a game like this and win it first,” said national coach Roberto Mancini, whose team was superior to Turkey, just like at the start of the European Championship. Mancini worried at most about the injury of captain Giorgio Chiellini, who had to be replaced after just 24 minutes injured. A diagnosis was still pending that night.
“Have to go on like this”
The round of 16 ticket can no longer be taken from the Squadra Azzurra after the clear victory with hits from Locatelli (26th / 52nd minute) and Ciro Immobile (89th). Against Wales it is now about to win the group on Sunday, Italy would be enough for a draw. “We have to continue like this,” said substitute Rafael Toloi. “We want to end this group with a win.”
Switzerland also needs a success in the last group game against Turkey in order to have a chance of making it into the knockout round. After one point from two games, the team that entered the tournament with such high expectations is about to end. “Tonight we are disappointed,” said coach Vladimir Petkovic. “But if we win the playoff against Turkey, we have a great chance of making it to the round of 16.”
Petkovic saw the reason for the defeat mainly in the superior opponent. “Italy was very strong today, and that was the main point of the evening.” The 57-year-old sees the Azzurri as one of the European Championship favorites: “Your players have enormous qualities. If they continue like this, they have every chance of at least finishing in the last four, ”said the former Lazio coach.
Mancini, on the other hand, does not see his team at eye level with the top teams. “At this European Championship there are teams like France, Portugal, Belgium, who are world champions, European champions or first in the world rankings,” he judged. “They have developed over the years and have a lot ahead of us, that’s completely normal.” In the end, the coach doesn’t see his team after ten clean sheets in the last ten games: “In my opinion, the team still has enormous things Potential to improve. “