Cesc Fabregas hails Italy and claims they ‘ate Turkey alive’ during 3-0 win in Euro 2020 opener as Rio Ferdinand insists rivals will have ‘sat up’ after their dominant display
After a goalless first half, a Merih Demiral own goal eventually saw Roberto Mancini’s men break the deadlock against Senol Gunes’ men, who played very deep throughout the game.
It was followed by further strikes from Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne which saw the Azzurri – who were fluid in possession – take an early advantage in Group A.
Cesc Fabregas praised Italy’s winning start to Euro 2020 by claiming they ate Turkey alive
After a goalless first half, a Merih Demiral (not pictured) own goal eventually saw Roberto Mancini’s men break the deadlock
And speaking on BBC One after the game, former Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder Fabregas insisted Italy were deserved winners at the Stadio Olimpico.
Asked how impressed he was, Fabregas – who won Euro 2008 and 2012 with Spain – said: ‘Very impressed, they did what they had to do in the second half. They had to keep going and keep it moving quickly, make deep runs.
‘Turkey could not keep hold of the ball, the worst thing you can do when you defend like that is just kick it out and not have the ball for 10 seconds because they eat you alive.
‘The little runs Immobile was doing were fantastic, Barella and Jorginho were excellent again in the second half. It was very well deserved.
It was followed by further strikes from Ciro Immobile (left) and Lorenzo Insigne (right)
Roberto Mancini’s men therefore took an early advantage in Group A after winning in Rome
‘Immobile’s movement is brilliant, he kept going. He has the passion to keep trying his best. The team is the team but the striker is the one who wins you the tournament.’
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand believes Italy’s performance will have silenced any doubters of their chances at the tournament, and believes the tournament is yet to see the best of Mancini’s men with the likes of star midfielder Marco Verratti to still come in.
‘It [the performance] will make other teams sit and stand up and know they will have to perform against Italy,’ the former Manchester United centre-back said.
‘Tactically they got it spot on in a system that works for them. They were good in and out of possession in a system which changes, which can make it difficult for opposing teams and individuals. They have players who are executing the game plan very well.
Former Chelsea star Fabregas insisted Italy were deserved winners at the Stadio Olimpico
‘Tougher tests lie ahead but they dealt with Turkey emphatically. They have got depth, Verratti is yet to come back. We have not seen all or the best of Italy but it wakes up few people if there had any question marks about Italy.’
Ex-England striker Alan Shearer was impressed with the Italians in and out of possession, and hailed their energy in winning the ball back after conceding possession.
‘Italy were impressive in everything they did, not only with the ball, but without it as well,’ Shearer said.
‘When they lost it, they went in threes and fours and got the ball back. They were just too good and too quick.
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand believes Italy’s performance will have silenced any doubters
‘Turkey ran out of ideas, Italy stopped them playing, they were crisp and they had an energy about their game.’
Fabregas and Sportsmail columnist Micah Richards meanwhile commended the job former Manchester City boss Mancini has done since taking over in the aftermath of the country’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Spaniard said: ‘Every national team needs transition. Mancini has done well, he has given chances to young players.
Alan Shearer was impressed with the Italians in and out of possession and hailed their energy
They were all together at the end of the game, you feel it, they are friends, they have the tactical ability.
‘They went for it and it was nice to see, you win games when you have the quality.’
Richards meanwhile told 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 (with Italy).
‘Not only the players but the manager deserves huge credit for installing that confidence in the players.’