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Italy make history to book Euro 2020 last 16 spot

Italy make history to book Euro 2020 last 16 spot

June 16, 2021 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The Azzurri defeat Switzerland on Wednesday night to secure a place in the knockout round of the tournament.

Italy secured a historic win to become the first team to secure a spot in the knockout rounds of the 2020 European Championship. The Azzurri's put in yet another impressive shift on Wednesday night to hit Switzerland for three in their second Group A game of the tournament at Stadio Olimpico.

Having defeated Turkey 3-0 in their opening group encounter, Roberto Mancini's men entered their second group game with a 29-game unbeaten run across all competitions. Against Switzerland, Manuel Locatelli fired them in front midway through the first-half after Giorgio Chiellini had his goal ruled for offside. The Sassuolo man then doubled his side's advantage with a stunning shot in the opening minutes of the second half before Ciro Immobile sealed off the win with an 89th-minute strike.

With the win, the 2006 FIFA World Cup winners became the first nation in the tournament to progress to the Round of 16. They also had history revised by becoming only the second side in the European Championships' history to open their tournament with successive wins by a three or more goal margin. The Netherlands were the first to achieve the feat in 2008 after beating the Azzurri 3-0 and France 4-1 in a subsequent game.

In addition, Roberto Mancini's side moves within one win of legendary Italian coach Vittorio Pozzo's record of 30 unbeaten games between 1935 and 1939. Between September 2018 and May 2021, the former have registered a 29-game unbeaten run. They have also not conceded a single goal since October 2020, recording a 10th consecutive cleansheet against Switzerland on Wednesday night.

The Azzuri's next game is against Wales on Sunday at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. 

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