European Football lovers have waited five years for this moment. The grand ushering in of the EURO 2020 tournament is finally here and Corona Virus cannot stop it this time around.
The tournament officially opened with a Group A clash between Turkey and Italy, the first of 51 matches taking place across 31 days in eleven different cities.
The Italians won the tournament on home soil in 1968 and will be looking to recapture those glory days while Turkey would be very grateful for a repeat of the run that saw them reach the semi-finals in 2008.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of the first fixture of Euro 2020.
The game kicks off at 7pm GMT on Friday, June 11.
The match will take place in Rome at the Stadio Olimpico, home ground of both Italian Serie A sides AS Roma and SS Lazio.
38 year old Dutch Professional referee Danny Desmond Makkelie will take charge of the match.
A REASON TO WATCH
For those who need reasons to watch this, Italy haven’t conceded a goal in 2021 and haven’t lost a game since 2018 — but this is by no means a formality.
The Italians are up against a young Turkey side once again managed by Senol Gunes, the man who masterminded the country’s run to the 2002 World Cup semi-final, and many observers believe he has a more talented group of players at his disposal this time around.
HEAD TO HEAD
In the ten previous games between the sides, Italy have won 7, drawn 3 and never lost.
While that might not bode well for Turkey, the two most recent meetings between the teams ended in 1-1 draws, although the most recent of those was back in 2006.
Roberto Mancini’s Italian team won all ten of their qualifiers, one of only eight sides in the history of the competition to qualify with a perfect record.
This is Italy’s 10th 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 triumphed on home soil at the 1968 European Championship and have been runners-up twice since – in 2000 and 2012.
This is Turkey’s 5th appearance at a UEFA European Championship. They made their debut in 1996 with their best achievement being in 2008 when they reached the semi finals of UEFA EURO 2008.
That 2008 semi-final against Germany 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.
DID YOU KNOW:
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