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:
Turkey keen to earn first opening game win
Turkey have lost all four of their opening games at Euro finals – this includes their opening match against Italy in the 2000 tournament where a Filippo Inzaghi penalty earned a 2-1 win for the Azzuri.
Turkey lost 1-0 to Croatia at Euro 2016 courtesy of a Luka Modric volley.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:22
Euro 2020: Roberto Mancini making up for lost time as he leads new-look Italy
A runners-up finish in Turkey with Galatasaray. A respectable if unspectacular season-and-a-half attempting to turn Inter’s tanker around. A disappointing year without distinction at Zenit Saint Petersburg. And now a stint in international football, where coaching careers often go to die. It is not typically what most Premier League title-winning managers do next, but then Roberto Mancini has always tended to do his own thing.
That was certainly the reputation he earned during his three years in Manchester which, though tumultuous, reshaped the city’s football landscape. If Pep Guardiola is the ideal figurehead for the present day Manchester City with their designs on world domination, then so was Mancini for the insurgent, sharp-elbowed City when they were looking to shake their nouveau riche tag at the turn of the last decade.
Mancini’s bullish, direct manner and dictatorial idiosyncrasies would cause problems further down the line but it was what City needed to begin with. There was more than a little uncertainty inside the club when, for example, no more than a few weeks after his appointment, he vowed to tear down the ‘34 Years’ milometer-style banner in the Stretford End which recorded the length of their rivals’ long trophy drought. It was bold but he eventually made good on the promise and only allowed it to tick over another year.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:12
Mancini has Italy winning – and scoring – again
Italy were one of only two teams – alongside Belgium – to win each and every one of their 10 qualifying matches.
The Azzuri also scored 37 goals in their Euro 2020 qualification matches (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).
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:01
Turkey’s defensive wall
Turkey conceded only three goals in 10 games in the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, the joint-best defensive record alongside Belgium.
Their defence is anchored by Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:40
Italy have never lost at the Stadio Olimpico in a major tournament – World Cup or European Championship – winning six and drawing two. They also haven’t conceded a single goal in each of those last seven games.
Can Roberto Mancini’s side continue such form?
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:28
Immobile is Italy’s key to success
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.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:16
Lille duo are Turkey’s players to watch
Zeki Celik impressed in his 27 appearances for Lille this season, scoring three goals and providing two assists as the club stunned PSG to win Ligue 1. His performances have sparked interest from a number of Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Celik did not register any assists during qualification for the tournament, but the 24-year-old is a modern full-back. He made eight starts on the right-hand side of defence during the campaign.
Up front, Burak Yilmaz is Turkey’s second-highest scorer of all time, with his 29 goals putting him behind only the retired Hakan Suker. At 35 years old, he perhaps won’t reach Suker’s 51 goals – but the Lille striker is in excellent form as he netted 18 goals in all competitions last season.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:03
Turkey vs Italy: Stadio Olimpico ready for opening game
The Italian government announced that the Stadio Olimpico can be filled to 25% capacity for the four games it will host, allowing up to 15,948 spectators.
Ticket-holders will need to show one of three documents to enter: either a certificate from Italian health authorities showing they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, another document from Italian health authorities showing they have recovered from the coronavirus within six months, or a negative test result issued within 48 hours of kick-off.
Fans arriving at the stadium will have their body temperature measured by thermal scanners, and anyone with a fever or other coronavirus symptoms will be ushered to a quarantine area.
While more than 2,000 tickets for the opening game were sold in Turkey, many of those fans are not expected to travel to the match.
Can Italy utilise the home advantage?
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 14:48
Turkey vs Italy: Head-to-head between the Euro 2020 openers
Turkey and Italy’s only previous encounter in a major tournament was at UEFA Euro 2000, also on 11 June rather remarkably.
It was their opening game of the tournament and finished 2-1 to Italy courtesy of goals from Antonio Conte and a penalty from Filippo Inzaghi. With his equaliser, Okan Buruk scored Turkey’s first ever goal in the European Championships.
Italy have never lost against Turkey despite facing them on 10 previous occasions, winning seven times and drawing three.
Can Turkey rewrite history tonight?
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 14:37
Turkey team news
Turkey are set to partner Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral alongside Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu with Okay Yokuslu – who spent last season on loan at West Brom from Celta Vigo – at the base of midfield.
Cengiz Under is expected to get the nod, playing back at the Olimpico following his loan spell at Leicester from Roma.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 14:21