After a year delay occasioned by the global Covid-19 pandemic, the Euro 2020 is set to kick-off on Friday, at the Stadio Olympico, the grand venue of the Italia ‘90 World Cup final match.
The tournament retains its name. It will now run from 11 June to 11 July 2021 across 11 countries, separated by 4,766km.
Turkey face Italy in the opening game of UEFA EURO 2020 as the Azzurri look forward to exploit home advantage. Italy is just one of the 11 host
This is Turkey’s second match in Rome; they qualified for the 1954 World Cup with a 2-2 play-off draw against Spain at the Olimpico on 17 March that year, going through after the drawing of lots.
For Italy, the hosts, they are unbeaten in 27 matches while Turkey will be avoiding defeat in their first match in five appearances at the European version of the World Cup.
Italy have never lost to Turkey in ten previous matches, winning ten and drawing three.
In addition, the Italians have a solid reputation in the Euro final tournaments and have suffered defeat only once in their eight opening matches.
Friday’s opening match will be the second clash of Italy and Turkey in the Euro final tournament.
Turkey have qualified for four previous EURO final tournaments and reached the knockout stages twice – although they have lost their opening fixture in all four previous finals appearances, and have managed only one Matchday 1 goal, against Italy in 2000.
EURO facts: Turkey
• This is Turkey’s fifth appearance at a UEFA European Championship, having made their finals debut in 1996. They reached the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2000 and the last four of UEFA 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 defeat of the Czech Republic. That proved insufficient for a place in the knockout stages after defeats by both Croatia (0-1) and Spain (0-3) – the latter equalling Turkey’s biggest defeat in a EURO finals.
• That 2008 semi-final against Germany in Basel, Switzerland – which Turkey lost 3-2 – matched their greatest international achievement. A side coached, as now, by Şenol Güneş received bronze medals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup after defeating co-hosts South Korea in the third-place play-off.
• Turkey qualified for UEFA EURO 2020 by finishing second in Group H behind world champions France, picking up 23 points from their ten matches. Four of those points came against Les Bleus (2-0 h, 1-1 a), with France’s goal in the latter encounter the only one Turkey conceded in their last six qualifiers.
• Şenol Güneş’s side conceded only three goals in qualifying, the joint best defensive record alongside Belgium. They kept eight clean sheets – more than any other team.
EURO facts: Italy
• This is Italy’s tenth EURO final tournament and their seventh in a row since sitting out the 1992 edition in Sweden. Only twice have they failed to advance through the group stage – in 1996 and 2004.
• Italy got as far as the quarter-finals at UEFA EURO 2016, finishing first in their group and beating holders Spain 2-0 in the last 16 only to lose to Germany in the last eight, going down 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
• Italy triumphed on home soil at the 1968 UEFA European Championship and have been runners-up twice since – in 2000 and 2012.
• This time round, Roberto Mancini’s side won all ten of their qualifiers to finish first in Group J, swelling the number of countries to have reached the finals with a perfect record to eight, Belgium also having achieved the feat in the UEFA EURO 2020 preliminaries. Of the previous six to have won every qualifier, however, only Spain (2012) went on to win the tournament itself.
• A 3-0 win away to Bosnia and Herzegovina in their penultimate qualifier was Italy’s tenth successive win in all internationals, the first time in their history they had achieved that feat.
• The Azzurri made it 11 straight victories with a 9-1 home win against Armenia in their final qualifying game, the first time they had scored nine goals in a game since August 1948. Seven different players were on the score sheet, a new national record.
• Italy’s record in Rome is W35 D18 L6, with three of those defeats coming in their last six matches at the Olimpico. Those are the Azzurri’s only losses in their last 18 matches in Rome (W13 D2); most recently, they beat Greece 2-0 there in UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying on 12 October 2019. They are undefeated in the Italian capital in EURO and FIFA World Cup matches; at final tournaments Italy’s record in Rome is W8 D2.
Turkey: Uğurcan Çakır; Zeki Çelik, Merih Demiral, Çağlar Söyüncü, Umut Meraş; Okay Yokuşlu, Ozan Tufan, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Cengiz Ünder, Kenan; Burak Yılmaz
Italy: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne