Boy, oh boy, does Italy look the total package after improving to 2-0 in EURO 2020 via a Manuel Locatelli brace in a 3-0 defeat of Switzerland on Wednesday.
Ciro Immobile also scored for Roberto Mancini’s Italians, who built off a tournament-opening 3-0 defeat of Turkey by controlling the Swiss to move back atop Group B after Wales beat Turkey 2-0.
Italy will move onto the knockout rounds but still has to draw or beat Wales on Sunday to win the group. That won’t limit many from planting early favorite status on Gli Azzurri.
3 things we learned from Italy – Switzerland
1. Locatelli makes it look easy: Sassuolo’s 23-year-old defensive midfielder isn’t a stranger to the score sheet but his brace-bagging second match day still caught plenty by surprise.
The AC Milan academy star who needed to leave the San Siro to catch fire only had one goal in his previous 11 senior caps for Italy, but Locatelli has scored seven times with 11 assists in three Serie A seasons with Sassuolo.
And how easy does he make this look?
LOCATELLI BLAST FROM DISTANCE 🚀🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/M2fsfe4zXe
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 16, 2021
2. Where’s did Switzerland go? Remember just how smooth Granit Xhaka and the Swiss looked against the U.S. just a couple of weeks ago? And how the Swiss deserved better than a 1-1 draw in a controlling performance against Wales at the weekend?
Xhaka might’ve been the only Swiss player to deliver the goods on Wednesday versus Italy and there are big questions. Why couldn’t Vladimir Petkovic get Denis Zakaria out there after only 66 minutes versus Wales? Why was Xherdan Shaqiri so quiet?
3. Italian defense solid as a rock: Italy drew Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-1 on Sept. 4, 2020. The four-time World Cup champions have since played 14 matches and allowed… one goal.
Since Donny van de Beek scored in the 21st minute of a UEFA Nations League match in Bergamo on Oct. 14, no one has found a way to smuggle the ball over the Italian goal line.
We’re talking 10-straight clean sheets and a shutout streak that would reach 1000 minutes should it make the 35th minute of Sunday’s scrap with Wales.
Man of the Match: Manuel Locatelli
23y 159d – Only Giacomo Bulgarelli (v Switzerland in 1962) and Mario Balotelli (v Germany in 2012) have scored a brace for Italy at a major tournament at a younger age than Manuel Locatelli this evening (23y 159d). Swazz. #EURO2020
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 16, 2021