Euro 2020’s curtain-raiser pits Group A opponents Turkey and Italy together on Friday at 8pm (UK time).
The belated tournament gets underway this week, and Italy will hoping to right the wrongs from their absence at the 2018 World Cup, with Roberto Mancini breeding a new lease of life into Gli Azzurri since the start of his tenure. Turkey meanwhile will be aiming to replicate their 2008 semi-final appearance.
Where to watch Turkey vs Italy on TV:
- UK: BBC One
- US: ESPN
Where to live stream Turkey vs Italy:
US ONLY: Fubo* are streaming a selection of Euro 2020 fixtures live for account holders. Those without a Fubo account already can take advantage of their seven-day free trial by following the simple steps below.
- Click on this link.
- Click ‘Start Your Free Trial’ and enter your details.
- Log in and pick your desired channel to watch.
*Geo restrictions apply. Fubo is currently available in the United States, Canada and Spain. Packages and pricing differ per country.
Scoreline prediction: Turkey 1-2 Italy
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Turkey vs Italy build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
It was a relatively straightforward qualification campaign for Turkey, who finished runners-up in Group H, but recent Jekyll-and-Hyde showings have masked the true capacity of Senol Gunes’ men, who were relegated from the recent Nations League in autumn. However, a 4-2 win over the Netherlands in March’s World Cup qualifiers illuminates what The Crescent-Stars are capable of on their day, particularly if goal fiend and skipper Burak Yilmaz is in the mood.
For Italy, the recent form under Mancini has rejuvenated hope for a nation following the spirit-sapping tenure of Gian Piero Ventura, who oversaw Gli Azzurri’s infamous failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Incredibly, in just three years, Mancini has restored pride among an impassioned fanbase and got the national side playing with the swagger and braggadocio of Italian XIs of old. There is a real sense of optimism in southern Europe.
- Turkey (vs Moldova): Cakir; Celik, Demiral, Soyuncu, Meras; Yokuslu, Tufan, Yazici, Karaman, Calhanoglu; Yilmaz.
- Italy (vs Czech Republic): Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Jorginho, Barella, Locatelli; Berardi, Insigne, Immobile.
There was no room in the Italian squad for the likes of Moise Kean, Stephan El Shaarawy and the convalescing Nicolo Zaniolo, with the latter only recently returning from a long-term injury. West Ham’s Angelo Ogbonna was also a surprise omission given his exceptional club form in helping the Hammers secure Europa League football and a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, and he was certainly not happy with Mancini’s thought process.
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Players to watch:
- Turkey: There can be no denying the protagonist in Turkey’s squad is, of course, Hakan Calhanoglu. Milan’s majestic playmaker finished the campaign having created more chances than any other player across Europe’s top five leagues, with his defence-splitting exploits culminating in nine assists, and four goals to boot. The Rossoneri appeared on the cusp of ending a protracted wait for scudetto glory midway through the campaign, and Calhanoglu was central to that ascent. Unfortunately, Milan were pipped to the post by rivals Inter (quite convincingly) in the end, but it was not for the want of trying on Calhanoglu’s part, who enters Euro 2020 in red-hot form, and very familiar with one or two of the defensive names on Mancini’s roster.
- Italy: Gli Azzurri are starting to resemble the Gli Azzurri of old, and that upward trajectory can be largely attributed to their midfield. A nation that prides itself on midfield elegance, almost to the point of arrogance (and with past players like Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Gennaro Gattuso, can you blame them?), they now have an axis worthy of donning the colours. The trident of Jorginho, Nicolo Barella and Manuel Locatelli is arguably the best entering Euro 2020, with the former a Champions League winner, and the latter a metronomic kingpin (registering the most passes in Serie A in 2020/21). However, it is arguably Barella who is Mancini’s most important cog. Indispensable to Inter’s Serie A title win, Barella was a standout name at the San Siro, thriving under the gung-ho demands of Antonio Conte, and inspiring his teammates to new heights. Romelu Lukaku bagged the goals, and Alessandro Bastoni brought stability and ball-playing competence to the back, but Barella connected the dots, combining creativity and vision to harmonise the side, while essentially functioning as an ‘8½’, hence Christian Eriksen’s struggles.
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