Italy take on Turkey in UEFA EURO 2020 Group A in Rome on Friday, 11 June, in a thrilling opener. They hope to win the Euros for a second time after lifting the trophy in 1968 while Turkey are not a team to be taken lightly.
, the first country in Europe to be overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic, is hosting the opening game of theEURO 2020
at the iconic Stadio Olimpico.
After a delay of 12 months, the much-anticipated Euro 2020 finals get underway today, as Italy lock horns with fast-improvingTurkey
in a Group A fixture.
The Azzurri will attempt to make the most of home advantage in Rome, while their Turkish rivals aim at avoiding defeat in their opening match of the competition.
Italt has managed to pick up some momentum heading into the Euros, winning four of their six games since the turn of the year. Turkey enjoyed a fine qualifying campaign for the Euros, losing just one of the ten games they played.
Italy as the four-time world champions attempt to end a half-century of European Championship failure with one of their most fancied squads over the last decades.
Due to their consistently excellent form during last season, the Azzurri - yet to be crowned continental champions since their last success back in 1968 - come into Group A not only as favorites to progress as section winners, but also as one of the candidates to lift the Henri Delaunay trophy next month.
Along with their fantastic record under coach Roberto Mancini - who has transformed a side lacking in direction and belief into a slick, well-organized winning machine since his appointment in 2018 - Italy will play each of their group stage games in the Italian capital; starting with the opening night encounter with their Mediterranean rivals, Turkey.
Italy have gone undefeated during their last 27 outings, so they will certainly carry momentum into their opening night on the grand Roman stage, where the world will watch their efforts to overcome a Turkey team whose excellent recent defensive record almost matches their own.
On the other hand, Turkey qualified impressively behind France and only conceded three times in their 10 qualifying games (losing just once), so they are clearly a tough side to break down.
Though expectation outside the transcontinental nation remains muted, Turkey coach Senol Gunes - who returned to lead his country in 2019, having overseen their third-place finish in the 2002 World Cup - will lead a confident and disciplined side into the Olimpico Colosseum on Friday evening.
Turkey’s biggest strength is a defense that conceded three goals in 10 qualifiers, marshaled by center-backsCaglar Soyuncu
Turkey qualified for Euro 2020 in an impressive fashion, winning seven and drawing 10 of their qualifying contests. They finished behind France in their group, beating Iceland, Albania, Andorra, and Moldova.
With talented youngsters such as goalkeeperGianluigi Donnarumma
, flying winger Federico Chiesa, plus Scudetto-winning Inter pair Nicolo Barella and Alessandro Bastoni and a well-organized, flawless squad, the former Manchester City manager was the recent recipient of a new contract that runs until after the 2026 World Cup.
A vital player in the Italy squad is set to be missing on Friday, asPSG
midfield maestroMarco Verratti
has trained alone during the past week, with the much-admired Manuel Locatelli to start the tournament's curtain-raising game.
While Verratti's ongoing knee problem prevents him from participating and the unfortunate Lorenzo Pellegrini is now likely to miss the entire event with a muscle issue, Roberto Mancini has few other fitness concerns in his 26-man squad, so a very similar side to that which started the Azzurri's friendly win over the Czech Republic last week might be selected.
Therefore, Lazio'sCiro Immobile
holds the center-forward spot ahead of Andrea Belotti, who endured a loss of goalscoring form towards the end of the season and while Alessandro Florenzi is set to shake off a muscular injury to start on his former home ground.
Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
On the other hand,Burak Yilmaz
is going to have the goalscoring responsibility as Turkey's line-leader with the support of Milan starHakan Calhanoglu
, cutting in from the left, and Yusuf Yazici starting in behind.
In defence, Juventus center-back Merih Demiral is to line up alongside Leicester City's Caglar Soyuncu, though the Crescent-Stars are blessed with several other options at the back like theLiverpool
loanee Ozan Kabak and Sassuolo's Kaan Ayhan.
Having impressed during his spell in the Premier League, Okay Yokuslu is most likely to start as the holding midfielder in a probable 4-1-4-1 formation, while Cengiz Under - back at the Olimpico after his loan at Leicester - is a candidate to replace Kenan Karaman out wide.
Turkey possible starting lineup:
Cakir; Celik, Demiral, Soyuncu, Meras; Yokuslu; Calhanoglu, Tufan, Under; Yazici; Yilmaz
Turkey and Italy’s only previous encounter in a major tournament was at UEFA Euro 2000, which was interestingly on 11th June.
It was their opening game of the tournament, ending 2-1 to Italy courtesy of goals from Antonio Conte and a penalty from Filippo Inzaghi. It was also in that game that Okan Buruk scored Turkey’s first ever goal in the European Championships.
Italy have never lost against Turkey despite facing them on 10 previous occasions, winning seven times and drawing three.
While many websites offer different predictions and betting tips, we state here that as the two teams have recently enjoyed a renaissance, they are probably going to play out a closely-fought, although not comparable technically.
With either side perhaps seeing the other as their main group rivals, it is not expected from both sides to ship many goals over the course of the match, particularly as there will be a significant amount of defensive nous.
Dutch referee Danny Makkelie, 38, will be assisted by two compatriots, Hessel Steegstra and Jan de Vries at the edge of the pitch, and by a video referee (VAR) also from the Netherlands, Kevin Blom.
Moreover, Stéphanie Frappart will be the fourth referee in the opening match between Turkey and Italy.
Date: Friday, June 11
Kick off Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
TV: ESPN and TUDN
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: Turkey +650; Draw +265; Italy -180 (via William Hill Sportsbook)