Federico Bernardeschi

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Italy qualifies for EURO 2020 with win over Greece

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After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy returned to one of international soccer’s grand stages on Saturday, qualifying for the 2020 European Championship with a 2-0 victory over Greece at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

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Roberto Mancini’s side joined Belgium as the second nation to qualify for next summer’s tournament which will be played across 12 different countries. The Azzurri did so having not yet dropped a single point in Group J play, putting together a 7W-0D-0L record with a +21 goal differential thus far. With three games still to play in qualifying, this marks the earliest Italy has ever achieved qualification.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho scored what turned out to be the winner from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute before Juventus forward Federico Bernardeschi added some insurance in the 78th.

Mancini recently stated that Italy’s 23-man squad for EURO 2020 is “more or less decided” already.

Ronaldo hat trick springs Juventus comeback (video)

AP Photo/Luca Bruno
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Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick, backing up his trash talk and leading Juventus to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

It was a 3-0 second leg win for Juventus over Ronaldo’s old Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid in Turin, stunning the stingy defense he’s burdened so many times.

Ronaldo mimicked Diego Simeone’s “bollocks” celebration after putting Juve in front.

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VAR looked like it could become a part of the festivities within four minutes of kickoff, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s lunge at Jan Oblak caught ball but then sent him through the keeper before Leonardo Bonucci punched the ball into the goal.

But nothing came of it, and the match remained scoreless.

Antoine Griezmann tested Wojciech Szczesny with a long range effort, but the keeper saved the ball from the back of the goal.

Ronaldo then put Juve ahead with his head, powering through Juanfran to finish an Emre Can cross. 1-0, game on, courtesy of Ronaldo’s 122nd UEFA Champions League goal.

Ronaldo headed wide just before halftime, and it truly felt like Juve was headed for a comeback.

His forehead did the trick just after the break, goal line technology defying what looked like an amazing Jan Oblak save.

A lull in chances snapped when substitute Moise Kean just missed with an effort across goal.

Fiorentina-bred Federico Bernardeschi then won a penalty to give Juve its first lead of the tie, with Ronaldo converted the hat trick.