Countdown to Euro 2020: Daily briefing
Follow live coverage of Italy vs Turkey as Euro 2020 gets under way in Rome tonight following the tournament’s opening ceremony.
The tournament, delayed 12 months by the coronavirus pandemic, finally kicks off on Friday night ahead of a feast of football over the next month across the continent where Europe’s best team will be crowned.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy are one of 11 host nations and will begin their campaign as Group A favourites when they take on the Turkish at the Stadio Olimpico tonight, before group rivals Wales and Switzerland meet in Baku tomorrow.
Italy’s squad is a mix of veteran graft – in the shape of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Jorginho – and fresh young talent like Alessandro Bastoni and Federico Chiesa. Whatever team Roberto Mancini picks is going to full of quality.
Turkey are being tipped as dark horse in some quarters, however, having beaten Netherlands 4-2 in a World Cup qualifier earlier this year. Burak Yilmaz is a constant goal threat and his will be an intriguing battle with the Italian defence.
Follow all the latest build-up and action from the Stadio Olimpico – including that opening ceremony – throughout right here:
Euro 2020: The opening ceremony
The opening ceremony to Euro 2020 is well underway. There’s been some incredible moments on display, giant inflatable footballs twirling around the pitch, drummers and flags hangers off the rafters, a full marching band and of course, coloured smoke and fireworks.
Things slow down for a serene rendition of Nessun Dorma.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:47
Euro 2020: Burak Yilmaz is the key man for Turkey
Lille’s 35-year-old veteran and Turkey’s captain, Burak Yilmaz, is ageing like a fine wine.
He’s been in great form in Ligue 1 all season and has enjoyed a well-timed scoring run at international level too justly earning his nickname “Kral” (King).
By propelling Lille to the Ligue 1 title he was nominated for player of the season, alongside Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Wissam Ben Yedder and Memphis Depay.
Lille coach Christophe Galtier said of him: “Burak is used to winning titles in Turkey, he went through big clubs there, and we see that in all the preparation he does. He is focused on competition. He is a driving force.”
Yilmaz has scored 29 goals in 67 games for his country and he could be the decisive factor in Turkey making it to the knockout stages.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:41
Euro 2020: Can Turkey really cause an upset?
In his second spell in charge of Turkey, having inspired the memorable run in Korea and Japan, Şenol Güneş has built a dangerous side capable of providing a scare against any of Europe’s more illustrious opponents.
Despite eventually finishing as runners-up to France in qualification, their victory over the world champions in Konya proved to be far from a one-off, with Germany and Croatia held to 3-3 friendly draws and the Netherlands beaten 4-2 in World Cup qualification earlier this year:
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:34
Euro 2020: Italy’s group gives Immobile his chance to shine
Singled out by Italy’s World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi, Ciro Immobile won the coveted European Golden Shoe award when he matched the Serie A record with 36 goals during the 2019/20 season. However, the Lazio striker has failed to replicate his club form on the international stage.
Having averaged 25 goals per season over his last five Serie A campaigns, the 31-year-old has underwhelmed for his country with just 12 goals in 45 caps, with many coming against European minnows.
Group games against Turkey, Switzerland and Wales offers Immobile a fine opportunity to improve upon this record and propel Italy into the knockout stages.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:30
Euro 2020: Turkey’s history with the Euros
This is Turkey’s fifth appearance at a European Championship, having made their finals debut in 1996. They reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2000 and the last four of Euro 2008 but failed to qualify for the 2004 and 2012 tournaments.
Four years ago, Fatih Terim’s team finished third in their section behind Croatia and Spain, missing out on a place in the round of 16 despite concluding their group campaign with a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic. That proved insufficient for a place in the knockout stages after defeats by both Croatia (0-1) and Spain (0-3) with the latter result equalling Turkey’s biggest defeat in a Euro finals.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:23
Euro 2020: Güneş hoping for victory in Rome
Turkey manager Şenol Güneş has high hopes for his youthful team. The coach has made it clear that his side are coming to Rome to pick up all thre points this evening. He wants to see his side play stylish football, and if they get everything right, they can cause a big upset in the opening match.
“The result we get in the first match is important; a draw or a win can cause confusion in the group.” said Güneş. “I hope so. I want to see our strength in the first match; even if we lose, it’s important to play well. I hope it’s going to be a great game, an enjoyable game … and that we win!”
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:18
Euro 2020: Every home and away shirt ranked and rated
Less than a hour to go until kick off so it’s time for a bit of fun. One of the joys of major tournaments is checking out the flamboyant kits on display. Who can forget Nigeria’s effort in the 2018 World Cup?
Euro 2020 is no different, check out our ranking of all the kits for this summer’s tournament. There are some belters in here as well as a few shockers:
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:12
Euro 2020: Turkey in good form ahead of opening game
Turkey have scored a total of 14 goals in six matches this calendar year, only failing to net once, in May’s 0-0 draw with Guinea. They are a young team with an average age of 24 days and 352 days, the lowest of any squad at Euro 2020.
Senol Gunes’ side were also the only team not to concede a single goal from open play in Euro 2020 qualifying, while their overall total of three goals conceded was a joint low with Belgium.
But, they have lost their opening game at all four of their previous European Championship appearances and have only kept one clean sheet in their last 10 games in major tournaments.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:06
Euro 2020: Mancini happy with squad atmosphere ahead of tough group
Italy’s boss Roberto Mancini is pleased with how his side has developed in the build up to the Euro 2020 tournament but warns that progressing to the knockout stages will be difficult due to Italy’s tough opponents in Group A. He said:
“I like the atmosphere that’s developed within the team and what the younger players have managed to achieve in such a short space of time, thanks in part to the help they’ve received from the more experienced players in the group. Sometimes players need more time, but these youngsters are quick to learn and have improved a lot, and because they’re so young, they can still improve further.
“This group is quite hard. You’re unlikely to find weak teams in a competition like this. They are all difficult games. After the draw it looked like an easy group, but football isn’t like that today. Every team is well prepared tactically, technically, and physically. It will be a difficult group.
“Turkey are a strong team, because their players are good technically and physically strong. They have improved a lot. It will be the same playing against Switzerland and Wales.”
Michael Jones11 June 2021 19:00
Euro 2020: Italy name strong side against Turkey
With Alessandro Florenzi on the right side and Leonardo Spinazzola on the left, Roberto Mancini has elected to go with two full-backs that have often played as wing-backs which looks to be a sign of his intent to press Turkey and attack.
Federico Chiesa starts of the bench for the Azzurri but could be a key player in the second half, as his pace could cause some trouble for a potentially tired Turkish defence.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:56