Countdown to Euro 2020: Daily briefing
Follow live coverage as Euro 2020 finally kicks off in Rome tonight.
Italy host Turkey in the tournament opener at the Stadio Olimpico, 12 months later than planned after the coronavirus pandemic forced a postponement. But a year on, 24 countries are ready to battle it out for the right to be crowned the continent’s best.
Martin Garrix, Bono and The Edge will take centre stage for the traditional curtain-raiser with a virtual performance that will use cutting-edge technology to bring fans closer to the festivities. Uefa have confirmed the three will perform a rendition of official tournament song We Are The People ahead of kick-off before Italy and Turkey get things going for real in the first match.
The performance, that Uefa say is themed around a real-life live stadium gig, will weave the song’s lyrics of “hope and positivity”, together with “powerful imagery brought to life by technology”, including the pitch being transformed into a blue-white flame, energy fields created from millions of light particles and Bono projected on to the stage. It was filmed in state-of-the-art motion-control studios in London, and at the Olimpico in Rome, to recreate the stadium environment in 3D.
Follow all the latest as Euro 2020 gets underway tonight:
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
Euro 2020: Turkey vs Italy line ups
Turkey XI: Ugurcan Cakir, Zeki Celik, Merih Demiral, Caglar Soyuncu, Umut Meras; Kenan Karaman, Ozan Tufan, Okay Yokuslu, Yusuf Yazici, Hakan Calhanoglu; Burak Yilmaz
Italy XI: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonnucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:46
Euro 2020: Mancini magic makes Italy great again
Roberto Mancini’s Italy were one of only two teams – alongside Belgium – to win each and every one of their 10 qualifying matches for the Euros.
The Azzurri scored 37 goals in their Euro 2020 qualification matches at an avergae of 3.7 per game, which was the same tally as they scored in qualification for Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 combined (37 goals in 22 games).
Mancini’s men are also unbeaten in their last 27 matches, the second longest undefeated run in their history, and have won eight consecutive games, three short of their record winning streak set in 2019.
They have kept clean sheets in each of those eight victories and have gone 785 minutes (over 13 hours) without conceding a goal.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:40
Euro 2020: Fans expected at all venues
Around 16,000 fans are expected to attend the opening fixture of Euro 2020 between Turkey and Italy at the Stadio Olimpico when it kicks off later this evening. Supporters are expected at all 51 games across the 11 host countries this summer as Europe looks to continue its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tonight though, Turkey will have their work cut out as Roberto Mancini’s Italy have won their last eight games without conceding a goal and are unbeaten since 2018. However, Turkey’s squad includes three of Lille’s Ligue 1 title-winning team, striker Burak Yilmaz, midfielder Yusuf Yazici and defender Zeki Celik which could provide a solid spine for the underdogs this evening.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:36
Euro 2020: Unique tournament offers Europe’s best a rare opportunity
A number of factors could see this European Championship play out differently to any before it.
Despite the many differences between the squads at Euro 2020, there has been one almost universal message in the camps. Managers like Gareth Southgate and Luis Enrique have been telling their players to “seize a rare opportunity”, but that is much more specific than the usual easy motivational line. They are two men who know as well as anyone that success in international football doesn’t necessarily come down to a team’s quality. It is whether they are in the right place at the right time.
That is a factor only set to be amplified this summer, that could see these European Championships skew more than any other tournament:
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:32
Euro 2020: Turkey team news
Turkey are without Cenk Tosun, their top scorer in qualifying, who misses Euro 2020 after injuring his knee in April. 35-year-old Lille striker Burak Yilmaz will lead the line, while winger Cengiz Under is expected to get the nod to play back at the Olimpico following his loan spell at Leicester from Roma.
Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral and Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu are set to partner each other at centre-back with Okay Yokuslu – who spent last season on loan at West Brom from Celta Vigo – at the base of midfield.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:28
Euro 2020: Italy team news
Italy could name the same team that beat the Czech Republic in a friendly last week. Domenico Berardi has scored in each of his past four appearances for the Azzurri and is expected to get the nod on the right wing ahead of Federico Chiesa.
Italy have asked UEFA for permission to replace Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini with Fiorentina’s Gaetano Castrovilli in their Euro 2020 squad after the midfielder picked up an injury in training.
Manuel Locatelli is set to start in midfield with Marco Verratti still stepping up his fitness after a knee injury. Roberto Mancini puts his faith in the solid defensive triangle of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and his two centre-backs Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:24
Euro 2020: Major tournament football returns to Italy
This will be the first major tournament game to be held in Italy since the 1990 World Cup.
Italy have never lost at the Stadio Olimpico in a major tournament, that is the World Cup or European Championship, winning six and drawing two at tonight’s venue. They also haven’t conceded a single goal in each of their last seven games.
Can Roberto Mancini’s side continue such form this evening and kick off their Euros campaign with a winning start?
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:18
Head-to-head stats for Turkey vs Italy
Turkey have never beaten Italy, losing seven of the 10 encounters between the sides, although the two most recent fixtures, both friendlies played in 2002 and 2006 respectively, ended in 1-1 draws.
The only meeting at a major tournament came exactly 21 years ago (on 11th June weirdly) at Euro 2000, when the Azzurri won 2-1 thanks to goals from Antonio Conte and Pippo Inzaghi.
Okan Buruk equalized for Turkey scoring their first ever goal at a European Championship finals in the process.
Michael Jones11 June 2021 18:11