Locatelli scores two as Italy crush Switzerland to reach knockout stage

AP , Wednesday 16 Jun 2021

Manuel Locatelli
Italy's midfielder Manuel Locatelli (2R) celebrates with teammates after he scored the team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group A football match between Italy and Switzerland at the Olympic Stadium in Rome (AFP)

Manuel Locatelli scored two goals and Italy beat Switzerland 3-0 Wednesday to become the first team to advance to the last 16 of the European Championship.

Locatelli's first goal came following a textbook exchange with Sassuolo teammate Domenico Berardi midway through the first half in Rome. His second came with a long and low shot shortly after the break that left Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer immobile.

Ciro Immobile added the last goal from long range in the 89th minute.

Giorgio Chiellini had a goal waved off by video review early in the match because of a handball. Then the Italy captain exited with an apparent left thigh injury.

As usual _ and perhaps the only characteristic carried on from Italy teams of the past _ the defense was impenetrable.

It's quite a turnaround for a team that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Italy extended its unbeaten streak to 29 matches _ one shy of the team record _ and kept its 10th clean sheet in that run.

Italy leads Group A with a six points. Wales is next with four points, while Switzerland has one and Turkey has zero.

Italy will next play Wales while Switzerland meets Turkey in the final group games.

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