Perfect night for Italy – on and off the pitch

Dates: 11 June-11 July. Venues: Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Seville, St-Petersburg. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 Live, iPlayer and the BBC Sport web site and app. Click here for more details

It began with a backbone-tingling rendition of Nessum Dorma, featured some good attacking play and ended with Italy jubilantly celebrating a defensive block.

The opening night of the European Championship couldn’t have gone higher for the Azzurri on or off the pitch in Rome – and it was a night which neatly encapsulated the better of their previous and current.

Few individuals had Roberto Mancini’s aspect down as favourites to go all the approach on this event however they have been in advantageous kind, scoring three targets in a Euros recreation for the first time – a exceptional stat given they’ve reached the ultimate thrice and gained it as soon as.

“They sent a little message out there to everyone,” in line with former England captain Alan Shearer.

It is a dramatic turnaround from the place they discovered themselves in three years in the past, once they hit all-time low with the unthinkable – failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

They misplaced two of their first 5 video games following the appointment of Mancini. But the ex-Manchester City supervisor has overseen a exceptional turnaround, with a zesty trying aspect that’s unbeaten in 28, successful 9 in a row and protecting clear sheets in all these video games.

Former City defender Micah Richards stated on BBC Radio 5 Live: “People will go over the top but you want the first game to be a bang and we certainly got that.

“Not solely the gamers however the supervisor deserves large credit score for putting in that confidence in the gamers.”

Shearer stated on BBC One that “Italy have been a large number when Mancini took over”, adding: “He modified the model of play. They have been spectacular in every little thing they did, not solely with the ball however with out it too.”

Italy last hosted a match at a major tournament at the 1990 World Cup and there was a throwback before kick-off as world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli belted out Nessum Dorma to the acclaim of the 16,000 fans in attendance at the Stadio Olimpico.

“It was necessary to begin properly in Rome and I believe it is a satisfaction for the public and for Italians,” said Mancini. “There was quite a lot of assist from the crowd.

“It was a beautiful evening, I hope there are many others, but there are still six more for Wembley.”

Despite impressing at the prime finish of the pitch, the Italians have lengthy been famed for the artwork of defending and veteran centre-again Giorgio Chiellini confirmed what it nonetheless means at the age of 36, punching the air in celebration following a late block on Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz to protect a clear sheet.

“It will make people stand up and take notice,” stated former England defender Rio Ferdinand. “If you play against Italy you are going to have to perform. They got it spot on tactically with a system that works for them.

“There will probably be more durable exams that lie forward however they handled Turkey emphatically. This will get up just a few individuals if that they had any query marks about Italy.”

With lynchpin midfielder Marco Verratti still to return, the in-form Italians will take some stopping.

Former Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas added: “You can see it at the finish of the recreation, they’re all collectively and you are feeling it.

“They are friends and they want to play for each other.”

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