The wrong side of history! Turkey defender Merih Demiral scores the first goal of Euro 2020… but it’s the first time the opening strike of the tournament has EVER been an own goal as Italy ease to victory in Rome
Domenico Berardi found himself on the right edge of Turkey’s box on 53 minutes and drilled the ball across goal, with his cross cannoning into the net off the unfortunate Merih Demiral.
Roberto Mancini’s men then made it 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico thanks to Ciro Immobile before Lorenzo Insigne applied some gloss to the result in the closing stages.
Merih Demiral (No 3) scores the opening goal of Euro 2020 in unfortunate circumstances
The defender looks on aghast as Ugurcan Cakir is unable to prevent Italy taking the lead
Among those who reacted to Demiral’s own goal was Gary Lineker, who said: ‘The first goal in Euro 2020 is an own goal from the not so Merih Demiral.’
Opta revealed that this was the first time at the Euros that the first goal of the tournament had been an own goal.
Tennis star Andrea Petkovic made light of Italy’s exuberant celebrations after taking the lead, likening it to Novak Djokovic’s celebration after Matteo Berrettini served a double fault to hand the Serbian victory in their French Open quarter-final earlier this week.
Andrea Petkovic likened Italy’s goal celebrations to Novak Djokovic cheering a double fault
CFCDaily tweeted: ‘Wait 5 years for a goal in the Euros and it’s an own goal’, while writer Zito said: ‘One of the great joys of sports is really the pain in a defender’s face after they score a terrible own goal.’
Sam Chapman suggested a rather novel punishment for the Juventus defender: ‘As punishment for his own goal, Merih Demiral should have to ride that tiny car off the pitch. Singing nessun dorma.’
Moose Allain also had his thinking cap on when it came to forfeits for Demiral.
‘When someone scores an own goal they should be forced to celebrate with the opposition as punishment e.g. doing a little wiggly dance in front of the corner post, but crying,’ they said.
Football Mumble referenced a video of iconic Sky Sports duo Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards to have fun at Demiral’s expense, with Carragher pointing at the screen and exclaimed: ‘That reminds me of myself!’
Switzerland co-head researcher of Football Manager Oliver Zesiger had some consoling words for Demiral though.
‘I’m impressed by Ugurcan Cakir. Good positional play, moves well laterally and has strong reflexes,’ he tweeted. ‘Plus, he immediately picked Demiral up after his own-goal. Shows leadership.’
The other two teams in Group A, Wales and Switzerland, face each other at 2pm on Saturday, while Denmark and Finland meet in Group B at 5pm and Belgium play Russia at 8pm.