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ITALY CRUISE INTO EURO 2020 LAST 16

Italy became the first team to reach the knockout stage of Euro 2020 as midfielder Manuel Locatelli scored twice in a 3-0 win over Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday, while Wales moved to the brink of joining them by beating Turkey.

The Azzurri, now unbeaten in 29 matches and having won their last 10 games without conceding a goal, sit first in Group A and are guaranteed a top-two finish and last-16 berth.

“We played well, we wanted to win at all costs,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini told RAI.

“They started well, it was not easy to win a second game in five days.”

Mancini’s men, looking to win Italy a second European title after their sole success in 1968, host Wales in their final group game on Sunday, with top spot up for grabs.

A new star shone for Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, where they had brushed aside Turkey 3-0 in the tournament’s opening match last week, as Sassuolo’s Locatelli scored twice before Ciro Immobile’s late third.

Captain Giorgio Chiellini had an early effort ruled out by VAR for handball, before the 36-year-old defender was forced off with what appeared to be a thigh injury.

But the hosts always looked the more dangerous side and took the lead in the 26th minute.

Locatelli played a wonderful volleyed pass to his Sassuolo teammate Domenico Berardi on the wing, who powered to the byline and picked out Locatelli for a simple tap-in.

The three points and a place in the knockout phase for the fourth straight European Championship were all but secured less than seven minutes after the interval, when a flowing move ended with Locatelli driving a left-footed shot into the bottom corner from outside the box.

Immobile had wasted a couple of earlier chances but did grab his second goal of the tournament in the 89th minute, curling a low effort past Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Switzerland will now likely have to beat Turkey in Baku on Sunday to reach the next round.

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