‘They’re even darker horses now’: Turkey roasted online after stuffing by Italy in Euro 2020 opener
Kicking off the month-long pan-continental football spectacular, it was the hosts who got their campaign off to a winning start thanks to three second-half goals at the Stadio Olimpico.
An own goal from the hapless Merih Demiral in the 53rd minute followed by efforts from Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne meant Italy started off with a flyer – very much in keeping with their revived form under the management of Roberto Mancini, under whom they are now unbeaten in their past 28 matches.Also on rt.com Italy 3-0 Turkey: Mancini's men break personal best in impressive Euro 2020 opener
The 3-0 result was a record-breaker as the biggest margin of victory in the opening match of a European Championship, with the tournament starting its 16th edition.
For Turkey it extended an unwanted streak of losing each of their opening matches at major tournaments – which now stands at seven.
7 - Turkey have lost their opening match at every major tournament (EUROs + World Cup), losing seven out of seven. They are the only nation to play at more than three such tournaments and never avoid defeat in their opening match. Groundhog. #EURO2020#TURITA— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2021
Many had tipped the Turks – managed by the astute Senol Gunes, who guided them to third place at the 2002 World Cup – as potential dark horses for this year’s tournament, although that notion soon came crashing down amid their heavy Group A loss.
The theme soon became a common topic online as fans reassessed their views on both teams now that the action is underway.
Turkey even darker horses now— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) June 11, 2021
“turkey are going to be dark horses!”the horses: pic.twitter.com/YKJTTa23tI— ︎︎︎︎︎︎charlie🏴 (@scfccharliee) June 11, 2021
Turkey looking tired. My dark horse prediction looking funny in the light. pic.twitter.com/WKv7BD7d69— Carl Anka (@Ankaman616) June 11, 2021
There were also - of course - some predictable puns wheeled out, while others even joked that the remote control car which brought the ball onto the pitch before the action kicked off had enjoyed more possession than Turkey (the actual stats ended up being 63% for Italy versus 37% for their opponents, with Italy registering eight shots on target against none for Turkey).
Like every Christmas Day at my Nan’s - the Turkey has disappointed tbh— Jaack (@Jaack) June 11, 2021
Turkey getting stuffed here— Harry (@wroetoshaw) June 11, 2021
It’s still early days of course, and the fact that four of the best third-placed teams from the six groups qualify for the knockout stage along with the top two in each group means that there’s time to pick up points for Gunes' men.
But as they head into matches with Wales in Baku on June 16 and Switzerland at the same venue four days later, Turkey will need to up their game pretty sharpish if they want to avoid an early exit this summer.