It is finally here! Albeit a year later but the EURO 2020 are finally beginning and the first up is Turkey v Italy in front of a limited capacity crowd.
This will be a repeat of their first match in Euro 2000, almost 21 years ago in which Turkey lost 2-1 but managed to get through to the quarter-finals, their second-best result after reaching the semi-finals in Euro 2008.
- Head to head: Italy have a home advantage in Rome. And Turkey have never beaten them- D3, L7.
- Previous Tournaments: Both teams failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and will look to get off to a good start. If Italy get through the group stage unbeaten, they will equal the 1939 record of 30 games unbeaten. They can surpass the unbeaten record though as they have lost just one previous opening group stage match – W3, D4, L1. Where Turkey have lost all the previous four opening matches in Euros.
- Odds: Italy are one of the favourites for the title and their form boasts as much W22 and D5. Turkey are underdogs though with odds of 7/1 to win the game.
- Defensive Record: – A strong Italian defence is on an eight-game run of clean sheets. A record they can break is the 1970’s 12 straight matches without conceding. Although Turkey cruised to Euro 2020 qualification with a solid defence that let in three goals in 10 games. In the 11 matches after, they conceded only 19 goals.
- Players to watch: Ciro Immobile (Italy) Lazio forward who knows the stadium well after scoring in his previous three starts in four of his last six matches at the Stadio Olimpico. Burak Yilmaz (Turkey) currently their second highest all-time top scorer (29 goals) and is no stranger to scoring in the group stage after scoring in their third game against the Czech Republic in Euro 2016.
Marco Verratti (Italy) has trained alone the past week with an ongoing knee problem and may not be risked. No injury concerns for Turkey.
Italy possible starting line-up: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
Turkey possible starting line-up: Cakir; Celik, Demiral, Soyuncu, Meras; Yokuslu; Calhanoglu, Tufan, Under; Yazici; Yilmaz
Both teams are on a five-match unbeaten run going into the tournament and both teams have an attacking threat, although frail in defence at times, Turkey will hope Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu will be just one of the key players to help keep the door shut on the Italians.
It could be anyone’s game but both teams will be looking to get off to a good start in the Euros with their first three points on the board!