Manuel Locatelli stars with a brace as Italy secure their place in the Euro 2020 knockout stage with a convincing 3-0 win over Switzerland.
Italy becomes the first team to secure their qualification to the knockout stages of the UEFA Euro 2020, thanks to a comprehensive 3-0 win over Switzerland, at Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.
It was yet another dominating display from Roberto Mancini’s men, who put early pressure on their opposition, forcing them to play their unnatural game and sit back. While the Swiss defence did well for the most part, Italy found the opener through an unlikely scorer in Manuel Locatelli, who latched on to Domenico Berardi’s cross to find the back of the net in the 26th minute.
The Azzurri did have some nervy moments in defence, but they weathered the storm rather well, especially in the second half. They were rewarded for their efforts as well, with Locatelli completing his brace before Ciro Immobile added the final gloss in the scoreline with a long-range strike in the 89th minute.
The goal sealed all three points for Italy, and thereby their ticket to the Round of 16. Switzerland, on the other hand, have a must-win game against Turkey on MD 3, And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two teams following this crucial result at Stadio Olimpico.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6.5/10
Gianluigi Donnarumma wasn’t troubled much as Switzerland mustered only one shot on target. The Italian goalkeeper, though, had to remain cautious as the opposition did ask questions in the second half. Another clean sheet for the young sensation.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo: 7.5/10
Giovanni Di Lorenzo was given the nod ahead of Alessandro Florenzi. The move paid off quite well too, with the Napoli full-back offering solidity on the right flank for Italy. Barely looked troubled defensively.
Giorgio Chiellini: 7/10
Giorgio Chiellini was a rock at the back for Italy, while also scoring a goal that was ruled out due to an unlucky handball. Unfortunately, his night was cut short due to a knock. It forced him off the pitch midway through the first half.
Chiellini had a problem with his left thigh flexor but the sensations are positive. At the end of the first half, he returned to the locker room with a brisk walk. (Sky) pic.twitter.com/MYQaMkYHwp
— Khaled Al Nouss (@khaledalnouss1) June 16, 2021
Leonardo Bonucci: 7/10
With Chiellini going off early, the onus was on Leonardo Bonucci to spearhead the Italian defence. The Juventus veteran did the job with aplomb, expertly marshaling the back-four and keeping Switzerland attackers at bay.
Leonardo Spinazzola: 7.5/10
Leonardo Spinazzola was heavily involved in Italy’s attacking game, especially in the first half. He formed a deadly combination with Lorenzo Insigne out wide, asking questions with useful crosses. Had to settle for a more defensive role after the restart.
Jorginho did his job well at the base of Italy’s 4-3-3. He was rock solid in possession, barely allowing Switzerland to create crucial turnovers in the middle of the park. An ideal orchestrator at the heart of Roberto Mancini’s tactical setup.
Manuel Locatelli: 9/10
It was a memorable night for Manuel Locatelli as he scored two of Italy’s goals in this 3-0 victory. Although the Sassuolo midfielder controlled possession well, it was his attacking endeavours that caught the eye, especially given the fact that the player is not known for scoring too many goals.
23-year-old Manuel Locatelli had one goal in 11 games for Italy going into today.
He scored two against Switzerland to send Italy into the knockout rounds of #Euro2020 and won Star of the Match.
Unforgettable ? pic.twitter.com/f2WJsvLJ6T
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 16, 2021
Locatelli’s second goal was even more impressive, as the midfielder expertly picked his spot to leave Yann Sommer helpless in between the sticks. A definite star of the match in this crucial encounter.
Nicolo Barella: 7/10
Nicolo Barella might not have been the best performer in this game, but he did his job well. The Inter Milan midfielder looked particularly impressive in the second line of press, recycling possession while offering ease in transition with his ball-carrying abilities.
Domenico Berardi: 7.5/10
Domenico Berardi played a massive role in the build-up to the all-important opener, taking on and beating two defenders to set the ball up for Locatelli. He wasn’t involved in anything much aside from that, but a threat nonetheless.
Ciro Immobile: 7/10
Ciro Immobile had a wasteful game in front of goal for Italy tonight. Although he scored a majestic own goal later in the game, the former Dortmund striker missed at least three clear cut scoring opportunities. He needs to be more clinical when Italy kickstart their knockout campaign.
2 – Ciro Immobile has become the first player to score in Italy's opening two games of a major tournament (Euros + World Cup) since Christian Vieri at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Icing. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/Jsuy6jw4R2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 16, 2021
Lorenzo Insigne: 7/10
It was not the best of performances from Lorenzo Insigne, who had difficulties getting the better of the opposition defenders. They defended him well, but his combination play with Spinazzola is what did the trick.
Francesco Acerbi: 7/10
Francesco Acerbi wasn’t threatened much defensively after the Lazio centre-back replaced Chiellini during the early stages of the game. Actually complemented Bonucci extremely well.
Federico Chiesa: 7/10
Federico Chiesa offered the much-needed freshness into the Italian attack after coming on as a replacement for Insigne midway through the second half.
Rafael Toloi: 6.5/10
Rafael Toloi replaced Berardi in the 70th minute, which seemed like a bizarre move at the time. But it was a well-calculated defensive move as the centre-back allowed Di Lorenzo to operate as an auxiliary winger.
Matteo Pessina: N/A
A late replacement for Locatelli. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Bryan Cristante: N/A
A late replacement for Barella. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Yann Sommer: 5/10
Yann Sommer was rooted to his spot in both the goals from Manuel Locatelli. The Gladbach custodian couldn’t have done much either as the first was scored from close range while the second one was perfectly placed. Should have done much better to prevent the third goal, though.
Nico Elvedi: 6/10
Not the best of games for Nico Elvedi, who had his hands full with the Italian attack. Had a more stable second half, one that even saw him marauding forward with the ball.
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) June 16, 2021
Fabian Schar: 6/10
Fabian Schar had a mixed game in the Swiss defence. He looked disorganised at times, but fared very well in dealing with the threat of Insigne, especially in one-on-one duels.
Manuel Akanji: 5/10
Manuel Akanji didn’t look quite sharp in this crucial encounter. He was lucky to get away with Chiellini’s disallowed goal, as he was completely beaten in the aerial duel. Must improve in the upcoming game against Turkey.
Kevin Mbabu: 5.5/10
Kevin Mbabu’s personal duel with Insigne on the flanks was an interesting one tonight. He couldn’t produce much going forward, though, and was rather stifled by the Italy press.
Remo Freuler: 4/10
Remo Freuler was one of Switzerland’s most underwhelming players in this game. He provided nothing to the table in the middle of the park, especially when it came to offering the creativity or assurance in possession.
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
Granit Xhaka, too, had a disappointing game against Italy, as he struggled to control the game up against a world-class Italian midfield. He did make recoveries, though, and had a key role to play behind Switzerland’s sustained pressure in the second half.
Granit Xhaka vs. Italy:
Passes: 80/88 (91%)
Long balls: 4/8
Ground duels: 5/5
Aerial duels: 1/2
— Owen Diana (@forkicksblog) June 16, 2021
Ricardo Rodriguez: 3/10
Ricardo Rodriguez was another player that struggled to perform for Switzerland. The left-back was very slow in possession, failing to get the ball forward quickly while getting defensively annihilated by Berardi, for Italy’s first goal.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 4/10
It was yet another underwhelming performance from Xherdan Shaqiri. The Liverpool attacker was often a liability, failing to offer any threat going forward and looking rather lethargic in the final third.
Haris Seferovic: 4/10
Haris Seferovic failed to provide anything to the table, occasionally drifting back to pick the ball up from midfield. Simply has to improve if this Swiss team are to advance to the next stage.
#SUI Haris Seferovic is replaced at the break with Mario Gavranovic
? Seferovic touched the ball just 13 times in the first half – Giorgio Chiellini managed more touches (17) despite being replaced in the 24th minute… pic.twitter.com/NM752hgCXS
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 16, 2021
Breel Embolo: 6.5/10
Breel Embolo was once again Switzerland’s most dangerous attacker in this game. He looked energetic, often looking to find spaces in behind the Italian backline. Unfortunately, he was often isolated by the opposition.
Mario Gavranovic: 5/10
Mario Gavranovic, too, didn’t offer anything to the table after coming on for Seferovic at the start of the second half. Got caught offside as he usually does.
Steven Zuber: 6.5/10
Steven Zuber made a noticeable impact after coming on for Schar around the hour mark. He offered freshness and energy on the flanks, and it had a significant impact on Switzerland’s attacking play.
Silvan Widmer: 5.5/10
Silvan Widmer got forward multiple times after replacing Mbabu around the hour mark. Unfortunately, none of his forays down the flanks were effective enough to trouble Italy.
Ruben Vargas: N/A
A late replacement for Shaqiri. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Djibril Sow: N/A
A late replacement for Freuler. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.