It’s finally here.
Football fans have been made to wait for what seems like an eternity, but the delayed Euro 2020 tournament will finally commence on Friday June 11 as Turkey take on Italy in the much-anticipated curtain raiser.
In the 11 previous meetings between the two sides, Italy have come out on top eight times, with the other three games resulting in draws. Although, with Turkey proving their worth against Europe’s big sides in recent years, this one could be tight.
This has been a long time coming, but here’s 90min’s preview of Euro 2020’s first match.
When is kick off? Friday 11 June – 20:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Stadio Olimpico, Rome
What TV Channel is it on? BBC One
Who is the referee? Danny Makkelie
Who’s on VAR duty? Kevin Blom
Turkey head coach Senol Gunes announced his final squad on June 1, and there should be a few familiar faces in action.
Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu, Okay Yokuslu (who was on loan at West Brom last season), Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu and Lille’s Burak Yilmaz – who registered 21 goal contributions in 28 Ligue 1 games throughout 2020/21 – should all start.
Roberto Mancini announced his 26-man list on June 2 and clearly has a wealth of talent to pick from. With it being the opening game of their campaign, we can expect a full-strength team to be selected.
The in-demand Gigi Donnarumma, the experienced Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonnucci, Chelsea’s Jorginho, and Ciro Immobile – who notched 20 Serie A goals for Lazio last term – are all expected to start on Friday.
Turkey: Cakir; Celin, Demiral, Soyuncu, Meras; Yokuslu, Tufan; Yazici, Calhanoglu, Karaman; Ylimaz.
Italy: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Chiellini, Bonnucci, Spinazzola; Jorginho, Locatelli, Barella; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.
It’s never easy to predict what will happen on opening night and, between two sides that are being dubbed ‘dark horses’ for this summer’s European Championships, this should be a tight match up.
Turkey are a very difficult side to beat, boasting a very organised and rigid shape, while also threatening in advanced areas thanks to a striker who knows where the net is in Yilmaz.
However, Italy’s sensational form heading into Euro 2020 make them more than just a ‘dark horse’ and should realistically be considered as one of the favourites to lift the trophy. Undefeated since September 2018, they’re on a run that has seen them win 22, score 75, and concede just seven in 27 matches – yeah, impressive.
Gunes undoubtedly has a good side, but Mancini’s men should have just enough to get their Euro 2020 campaign off to a winning start.
Prediction: Turkey 1-2 Italy