Euro 2020

Blackleaf

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Lukaku's "I love you" goal for Eriksen

Group B

Belgium 3-0 Russia

Lukaku 10, 88
Meunier 34

St Petersburg

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Romelu Lukaku paid tribute to his Inter Milan team-mate Christian Eriksen after scoring against Russia to help world number one side Belgium start Euro 2020 with a win.

Denmark midfielder Eriksen collapsed on the pitch earlier on Saturday in the Group B game with Finland and received emergency treatment on the field.

There was some doubt as to whether Belgium's game with Russia - Denmark's group rivals - in St Petersburg would go ahead as scheduled because of events in Copenhagen before it was given the all-clear after the Danish Football Association revealed Eriksen was "awake" in hospital.

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Lukaku opened the scoring after pouncing on a mistake by Andrey Semenov and celebrated his goal by shouting "Chris, Chris, I love you" in front of a television camera.

Roberto Martinez's side added to their lead before half-time after substitute Thomas Meunier - an early replacement for injured Leicester defender Timothy Castagne - slotted home when Anton Shunin failed to hold a cross.

In-form Lukaku added a late third with a composed finish to seal a comfortable win.

The victory put Belgium, one of the fancied teams at Euro 2020, top of the group, level on points with Finland, who beat Denmark in a game which was suspended following Eriksen's collapse before being re-started.

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Blackleaf

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Tomorrow:

Group D

England VS Croatia

Group C

Austria VS North Macedonia
Netherlands VS Ukraine
 

Blackleaf

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Evil BBC DISGRACE ⚽️ Euros Christian Eriksen CPR Live SHAME 🤬 Told U 😢 No Class Let Alone Humanity​

 

Blackleaf

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SHAME ⚽️ FA Threaten MP Andrew Bridgen Over ‘Taking To The Knee’ Opinion 😳 Appalling James O’Brien​

England will be the first team to take the knee at the European Championship this afternoon against Croatia at Wembley

 

Blackleaf

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Wembley in London looking glorious in the summer sunshine. It's half an hour until England VS Croatia. England have never won their opening match in the European Championships and Croatia have been a bogey side for England - they defeated England in November 2007 to prevent them qualifying for Euro 2008 and they beat England in the 2018 World Cup semi-final, although England beat them in the 2018 Nations League. Hopefully England can finally win an opening Euros match today.

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Blackleaf

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England well on top. Come out fearlessly without nerves and are pummelling Croatia. We just need a goal.
 

bob the dog

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Aug 14, 2020
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The teams in each group play each other once: it's 3 points for a win, 1 point each for a draw, 0 points for a loss. The top two teams in each group, and the four best third-placed teams, then advance to the Last 16, from where it's just a straight knockout all the way to the final. So the Last 16 will consist of eight matches and whoever wins each match then goes through to the Quarter Finals and so on. Any draws in the knockout stages will go to 30 minutes of extra time and if they are still draws after extra time they'll go to penalty shootouts.
Thank you
England well on top. Come out fearlessly without nerves and are pummelling Croatia. We just need a goal.
zero - zero still
 

Blackleaf

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Sterling receives MBE from the Queen - then scores the winner for England

Group D

England 1-0 Croatia

Sterling 57

London

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Raheem Sterling's goal gave England a first ever win in their opening European Championships match

England's Euro 2020 campaign got off to a satisfactory start as Raheem Sterling's goal secured victory over Croatia at Wembley.

Sterling repaid England manager Gareth Southgate's faith in him, sliding in the winner after 57 minutes following a perfect pass from man-of-the-match Kalvin Phillips.

Southgate resisted the temptation to play Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and was rewarded with a lively performance from Sterling as England secured the win their superiority deserved.

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The Three Lions almost took an early lead when Phil Foden struck a post but there were the first signs of frustration from fans and players just as Sterling made the decisive contribution with his first goal in a major tournament.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was barely tested by a disappointing Croatia side, who never looked like repeating their victory over England in the 2018 World Cup semi-final in Moscow - leaving England with three points to take into Friday's second Group D game against Scotland at Wembley.

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England boss Gareth Southgate, even without his customary waistcoat, is delighted with the victory


 

Blackleaf

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Kalvin Philips was probably the best player on the pitch today, there in midfield. Everytime a Croatian got on the ball near him the Croatian ended up on the deck and he played the pass to Sterling for the winning goal.

Anyway, now for the next match:

Austria VS North Macedonia

North Macedonia are making their debut in a major tournament. It is a tiny nation of 2 million.

Austria have played in the European Championships before - but have never won a match in the tournament.

North Macedonian fans are waiting eagerly in Romanian capital Bucharest for the match, which is about to kick off...

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In case you're not familiar with the name North Macedonia, this is still the country previously called Macedonia/Republic of Macedonia/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia/FYROM.

They changed their name in 2019 after a 27-year dispute with Greece, which has its own region called Macedonia.

The country was part of Yugoslavia until 1991.

Sasa Kalajdzic leads the line for Austria as they look to record their first ever win at a European Championship, as former West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic starts on the bench.

Captain David Alaba will attack from the left.

Austria XI: Bachmann, Lainer, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Ulmer, Baumgartner, Laimer, Schlager, Alaba, Sabitzer, Kalajdzic.

Leeds United's Ezgjan Alioski begins on the left for tournament debutants North Macedonia, as veteran skipper Goran Pandev starts up front.

North Macedonia: Dimitrievski, Nikolov, Ristovski, Velkovski, Musliu, Alioski, Bardi, Ademi, Elmas, Pandev, Trajkovski.

 

Blackleaf

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Austria earn their first ever European Championships win over debutants

Group C

Austria 3-1 North Macedonia


Bucharest

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Substitutes Marko Arnautovic and Michael Gregoritsch earned Austria their first ever victory at a European Championship as Franco Foda's side edged past tournament debutants North Macedonia in their Group C opener.

Gregoritsch met captain David Alaba's sublime cross with 12 minutes remaining to end North Macedonia's resistance, before Arnautovic put the result beyond doubt after rounding goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.

Veteran Macedonian striker Goran Pandev looked to have earned a memorable point for Euro 2020's lowest-ranked side on his 120th appearance, 20 years on from his international debut.

The 37-year-old Genoa forward, part of Jose Mourinho's treble-winning Inter Milan side of 2009-10, pounced on a defensive mix-up and slotted in to an open goal after 28 minutes to cancel out out Stefan Lainer's strike.

Borussia Monchengladbach right-back Lainer had produced a fine finish to give an uninspiring Austria the lead 10 minutes earlier, leaping to volley in Marcel Sabitzer's excellent pass.

Lainer held up a shirt reading "Eriksen stay strong" following his goal, after the Denmark midfielder collapsed in his side's Euro 2020 match against Finland on Saturday.

With the Netherlands and Ukraine to come, both sides played with greater urgency in a fiery second half and Austria manager Franco Foda called on ex-West Ham forward Arnautovic and Gregoritsch to bolster the attack.

Dimitrievski was at full stretch to keep out Gregoritsch's glanced header, before the Augsburg player made the breakthrough and Arnautovic - Austria's top scorer in qualifying - grabbed his first international goal in two years.

The Macedonian supporters created a festival atmosphere - despite the rain at Romania's National Arena - but despite a promising showing it was not to be in their first match at a major tournament in their 27-year history.

What's next?​

North Macedonia face Ukraine on Thursday at 14:00 BST and Austria meet the Netherlands on the same day at 20:00.

 

Blackleaf

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Group D

Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic

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Scotland's first match at a men's major finals in 23 years ended in anguish after Patrik Schick's incredible halfway-line goal helped the Czech Republic inflict a deflating opening Euro 2020 defeat at Hampden.

Schick's goal, which added to his headed first-half opener, punctured a carnival atmosphere with a sharp dose of reality for Steve Clarke's side.

Around 9,000 fans witnessed the Scots strike the bar amid a glut of chances, but a first foray beyond the group stage already looks a tough ask.

Scotland now go to Wembley on Friday with a heightened need for a positive result against a buoyant England, before their group campaign comes to a close against Croatia in Glasgow four days later.

 

Blackleaf

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10-man Poland suffer shock defeat to Slovakia

Group E

Poland 1-2 Slovakia

St Petersburg

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Slovakia gained a shock victory over 10-man Poland in their European Championship Group E opener in St Petersburg.

Milan Skriniar's fine low shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area secured the three points for Slovakia, a country ranked 36th in the world.

They had taken an early lead when the ball bounced off the post and rebounded in off Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after a fine run and shot from Robert Mak.

A lovely one-touch move, calmly finished by Karol Linetty, brought the Poles level early in the second half.

But the 62nd-minute dismissal of Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak for a second booking changed the momentum of the match and Skriniar and Slovakia took full advantage seven minutes later.

The other two nations in Group E, Spain and Sweden, face each other in Seville in the late game on Monday (20:00 BST).

Poland reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, losing to eventual winners Portugal on penalties, and now need to beat either Spain or Sweden to have a chance of progressing.

Slovakia's Ondrej Duda fired wide early on, but his country went ahead thanks to fine work from Ferencvaros forward Mak, who helped Manchester City win the FA Youth Cup in 2008 but never played a senior game for them.

There appeared to be no danger when Mak collected the ball near the left wing, but a fine turn took him past Kamil Jozwiak and a nutmeg on Bartosz Bereszynski got him into the area, where his low strike hit the foot of the post but rebounded in off the unfortunate Szczesny.

It continued a bizarre run of bad luck for the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper in European Championship openers, after he was sent off in Poland's first game of Euro 2012 and went off injured at the beginning of Euro 2016.

Poland failed to have a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, but were level within a minute of the restart.

A brilliant passing move down the left involving Leeds midfielder Mateusz Klich and Maciej Rubus saw the latter pull it back for Linetty and he side-footed the ball into the net.

Poland looked to build on that equaliser, but Krychowiak's dismissal left them on the back foot.

Robert Lewandowski had scored 48 goals for Bayern Munich in the 2020-21 season, but was kept quiet by a superb display from the Slovakia defence.

Therefore, it was fitting the superb Skriniar, in a game where he also made 10 clearances, three interceptions and two blocks, would become Slovakia's hero when he took down a poor Poland clearance and drilled in the winner.

Slovakia reached the last 16 of Euro 2016 and this victory leaves them well placed to reach the knockout stage again.

What's next?​

Slovakia stay in St Petersburg and face Sweden on Friday, 18 June (14:00 BST), before Poland play against Spain in Seville on Saturday (20:00), with both matches live on the BBC.

 

Blackleaf

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917 passes and 85% possession - but Spain still can't beat Sweden

Group E

Spain 0-0 Sweden

Seville

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Spain endured a frustrating opening game in Euro 2020 as they failed to make their near total dominance pay against a rigid and stubborn Sweden in Seville.

Luis Enrique's side had the vast majority of possession and territory in the match, which at times resembled a session of attack versus defence, but were unable to take advantage of the good opportunities their build-up play yielded.

The best fell to Alvaro Morata, who was allowed in on goal by a fluffed attempted clearance from Marcus Danielson but side-footed his shot wide.

Dani Olmo also saw a close-range header tipped round the post by Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen, and Koke sliced an effort off target from inside the box.

Sweden's best chance fell to La Liga's young player of the year Alexander Isak, who muscled his way in for a shot that deflected off a Spanish defender, hit the post and looped straight to grateful keeper Unai Simon.

Isak also fashioned a great opportunity for partner Marcus Berg, who somehow managed to steer a shot from near point-blank range wide at the back post.

The result will do little to lift the downbeat mood of some of the Spanish public, who have seen the preparations of their national side overshadowed by the fallout of positive Covid-19 tests for two players and squad selection controversy.

The draw in Seville means Slovakia have the early advantage in Group E courtesy of their surprise 2-1 win over Poland earlier on Monday.

No nation has had the perfect preparation for this tournament as a result of the global pandemic, but few sides' build-up has been quite as problematic and picked apart as that of Spain.

The positive Covid-19 tests for Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente and resulting fallout, along with the omission of any Real Madrid players from the squad, the most notable being Sergio Ramos, left many Spaniards hoping for rather than expecting success.

While not a patch on any of the squads that won three successive major tournaments between 2008 and 2012, this is still a talented group packed full of pace and vision.

This was born out throughout the game, as the side in red and blue shifted their opponent around the pitch, moved intelligently into space and forged openings, with Barcelona teenager Pedri prominent.

In the first-half alone they completed 419 passes - the highest figure in the opening 45 minutes of a European Championship game since data specialists Opta began collecting such information in 1980.

What Luis Enrique's starting XI really lacked was a finisher.

Morata has 19 international goals to his name and a lot of big clubs on his CV but he floated through the contest and spurned his moment when it came.

Gerard Moreno - scorer of 30 goals for Villarreal last season - sat on the bench until the 75th minute and missed his own big chance in injury time with a header saved by Olsen. It was one of only two attempts on target in the second half.

Sweden will be delighted to have frustrated a big side in their own back yard. It wasn't pretty but it was extremely effective and testament to a side with a work ethic and discipline in spades.

Manchester United's Victor Lindelof is an occasionally maligned defender by fans in England, but here he was superb.

On the evidence of the two games we have witnessed so far in Group E, it is going to be fascinating watching it to a conclusion.

What's next?​

Sweden are in Saint Petersburg in Russia to face Slovakia, who beat Poland in their first match, at 14:00 BST on Friday 18 June. Spain play the day after, facing the Poles in Seville at 20:00.

 

Blackleaf

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Ronaldo becomes European Championships top scorer as holders Portugal defeat Hungary

Group F

Hungary 0-3 Portugal
................ Guerrero 84, Ronaldo 87 (pen), 90+2

Budapest

Cristiano Ronaldo became the top scorer in men's European Championship history as European champions Portugal beat Hungary in front of more than 60,000 fans in Budapest.

Ronaldo converted an 87th-minute penalty for his 10th goal in the competition, overtaking France's Michel Platini on nine goals.

His 11th came only a few minutes later when he took the ball around goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi for Portugal's third.

Hungary had looked on course for an unlikely draw against the defending champions until they conceded three times late on.

The deadlock was broken in the 84th minute when Raphael Guerreiro's shot with the outside of the foot took a massive deflection off defender Willi Orban to break Hungary's brave resistance.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player to play in five men's European Championships

The result looked comprehensive, but Portugal had to work hard to defeat their opponents in front of the biggest attendance of the tournament so far.

The 67,000-capacity Puskas Arena in Budapest is the only venue at Euro 2020 that will have full crowds and the fans helped create a fantastic, much-missed passionate atmosphere.

But the home supporters were nearly silenced in the fourth minute when Liverpool forward Diogo Jota had a chance, but saw his shot pushed away by Gulacsi when a pass to a wide-open Ronaldo may have been the better option.

Portugal, whose starting 11 included six Premier League players, created the best chances in the first half but Jota was again denied, with Ronaldo glancing a header wide and firing over when he should have hit the target.

Hungary were mostly restricted to long-range shots straight at goalkeeper Rui Patricio. However, home substitute Szabolcs Schon thought he had scored when he squeezed a shot in at the near post, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.

Portugal got their fortunate opener soon afterwards before Ronaldo's penalty after Willi Orban had fouled Rafa Silva.

Ronaldo then had the final say in injury time as he showed great skill to round Gulacasi for his second and Portugal's third.

What's next?​

Hungary stay in Budapest and play France on Saturday (14:00), before Portugal face Germany in Munich (17:00 BST).

 
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Blackleaf

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Hummels' own goal gifts world champions France victory over Germany

Group F

France 1-0 Germany
Hummels (og) 20

Munich

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Mats Hummels scored Germany's first-ever own goal at a European Championship


World champions France started their Euro 2020 campaign with a win over Germany thanks to a Mats Hummels' own goal in a high-quality heavyweight Group F match.

Hummels - recalled for this tournament after being told by coach Joachim Low in 2019 that his international career was over - diverted Lucas Hernandez's cross into his own net in the first half of a fascinating contest in Munich.

Tournament joint favourites France were marginally the better of the two sides, but appeared to be in third gear for much of it.

Paul Pogba sent the ball over the bar from a corner with his shoulder, Kylian Mbappe had an angled shot saved, he and Karim Benzema had goals ruled out for offside and Adrian Rabiot hit the outside of the post.

Germany came into the finals with big questions over their best XI as well as their chances of success after an uncharacteristically turbulent few years, but proved typically competitive finals opponents.

Thomas Muller - another player recalled after being jettisoned by Low - headed wide, with Ilkay Gundogan slicing an effort past the post from a good position in the box and Serge Gnabry seeing a shot deflected on to the roof of the net.

It was not just the actual football that was of interest either.

There was a hint that Germany defender Antonio Rudiger may have bitten the shoulder of Pogba in the first half, although replays proved inconclusive.

This came after a Greenpeace protestor had parachuted into the stadium, shedding equipment as he crashed to the pitch before being hurried away by security.

France's win means they and Portugal, who beat Hungary 3-0 in Budapest earlier on Tuesday, take the early initiative in a highly competitive Group F.

France do what is required​

When the draw for the finals was made, this was a standout fixture - a winners' convention between two of the continent's most decorated sides, containing some of the modern game's highest individual achievers.

The two nations have five European Championship titles between them and six World Cup wins, with only three of the players starting the game in Munich without a Champions League winners' medal in their collection.

Just to add a bit more spice, the two countries also have some on-field history, most notably the encounter at the 1982 World Cup, which included the infamous clash between German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher and France defender Patrick Battiston.

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Did Rudiger bite Pogba?

While the encounter did not produce a timeless classic, it did showcase a consistent level of skill and intelligence rarely seen so far in the competition.

France supplied much of it, with Pogba and N'Golo Kante a complimentary midfield pairing of grit and guile, and the front three of Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema a constant menace to a vulnerable German defence.

With such attacking riches at France's disposal, it could be seen as a negative that it took an own goal to seal this win, but they could easily have added to the scoreline had the forwards timed their runs better.

At 33, Benzema can be forgiven for going early to gain an advantage and drawing the offside flag that ruled out his finish, but Mbappe has pace to burn and is less in need of the extra yard.

In the end, Hummels' own goal was all France needed to get off to a winning start in their quest to unite the European Championship trophy with the World Cup - as they did 21 years ago.

 

Blackleaf

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Wales take giant leap to Last 16

Group A

Turkey 0-2 Wales

Baku

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Wales took a significant stride towards qualifying for the second round of Euro 2020 as they overcame Turkey after a gripping encounter in Baku.

With a crowd of more than 30,000 in Azerbaijan's capital city effectively making this a home game for Turkey, Wales responded to the hostile atmosphere with a vibrant, attacking display in which they cut their opponents open at will.

After a host of missed chances in a breathless first half, Gareth Bale played a brilliant lofted pass through the heart of the Turkish defence for Aaron Ramsey, who brought the ball down and finished elegantly.

Although Turkey came back strongly, Wales squandered a glorious opportunity to consolidate their lead when captain Bale ballooned a penalty over the bar.

There were some nervous moments for the Welsh defence as they withstood Turkish attacks - with Danny Ward making a vital late save to deny Merih Demiral.

But Connor Roberts struck from a corner deep in injury time to seal a win that takes Wales to four points with one match left in the group stage.

That final fixture will be in Rome on Sunday against Group A favourites Italy, who face Switzerland later on Wednesday.

Having drawn 1-1 with Switzerland in their opening fixture last Saturday, Wales will keep a close eye on events at the Stadio Olimpico as that match could have a major bearing on their hopes of reach the last 16.

But regardless of events in Rome, this impressive performance and result against Turkey - tipped by many before this tournament as potential dark horses - marked a remarkable transformation from Robert Page's side.

 

Blackleaf

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Italy reach the Last-16

Group A

Italy 3-0 Switzerland

Rome

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In-form Italy became the first team to reach the knockout stage of the European Championship with another impressive Group A showing in victory over Switzerland.

Roberto Mancini's side thumped Turkey on the opening day of the tournament and made it back-to-back 3-0 wins courtesy of another sprightly performance in Rome.

Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli scored twice, first by finishing off a move he started by tapping in from Domenico Berardi's darting run and cutback.

Italy's passing and pressing was far superior to their opponents and Locatelli's fizzing strike from the edge of the area underlined their control of the contest.

Lazio striker Ciro Immobile's long-range drive, which squirmed under goalkeeper Yann Sommer, completed a comprehensive victory late on.

Switzerland barely threatened an Italian backline that has now gone 10 games without conceding in all competitions, a run approaching 1,000 minutes.

World champions France were tipped by many as pre-tournament favourites, but Italy have showcased their credentials as strong contenders with two eye-catching performances.

Once again they set the tempo before kick-off with a rousing rendition of the national anthem, sung with gusto by players and supporters alike at the Stadio Olimpico.

Switzerland struggled to cope as the Azzurri impressively extended their unbeaten run to 29 games, and their fierce defence and ruthless attacking play in the final third looks like it will take some stopping as this tournament progresses.

Before this championship, Italy had never netted three goals in a game at the Euros but Immobile's effort means they have now achieved the feat twice in two games.

One blemish for the Italians came with an injury to captain Giorgio Chiellini, who had a close-range finish ruled out for handball shortly before he was forced off with a suspected hamstring problem.

Switzerland's only chance of note fell to substitute Steven Zuber, but his low shot from the angle was comfortable for goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to deal with.

Italy can finish top of the group with a point against Wales on Sunday, which would set up a last-16 meeting against the runner-up in Group C at Wembley Stadium on 26 June.