Manuel Locatelli scores twice as Fantastic Italy thrash Switzerland to reach round of 16 (Match Highlights)
|Can Italy go all the way? (Photo credit: Uefa.com)|
Italy became the first team to enter the knockout stage of the Euro 2020 Championship after another excellent Group A display in the victory over Switzerland.
Roberto Mancini's side thrashed Turkey 3-0 on the opening day of the competition, and they made it back-to-back 3-0 victories in Rome.
Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli scored two goals, the first by completing a move he started by tapping in from Domenico Berardi's dashing run and cutback.
Italy's passing and pressing were significantly superior to their opponents', and Locatelli's cracking strike from the edge of the area demonstrated their dominance.
Ciro Immobile's long-range strike, which wiggled under goalkeeper Yann Sommer, sealed a resounding victory for the Azzuris late on.
Switzerland only posed a minor threat to an Italian defence that has now gone 10 games without conceding in all competitions, a streak that has lasted nearly 1,000 minutes.
Many people picked World champions France as the pre-tournament favourite, but Italy has proven their worth as a formidable challenger with two impressive performances.
As the Azzurri extended their unbeaten record to 29 games, Switzerland struggled to cope, and their tenacious defence and ruthless attacking play in the final third appear to be unstoppable so far.
Italy have never scored three goals in a game at the Euros before this tournament, but Immobile's performance means they have now done so twice in two games.
An injury to captain Giorgio Chiellini, who had a close-range strike ruled out for handball just before being taken off with a suspected hamstring problem, was one blemish for the Italians.
Substitute Steven Zuber had Switzerland's lone notable chance, but his low effort from the angle was easily dealt with by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
With a point against Wales on Sunday, Italy can finish first in Group C and advance to the last-16, where they will face the runner-up in Group C on June 26 at Wembley Stadium.