With the long-awaited European Championships finally set to get underway later this evening, we at 101GreatGoals have delved deep into the finer details of Italy’s meeting with Turkey, so you don’t have to.
Below, check out five things you need to know about today’s action.
The month-long Euro 2020 tournament will officially kick off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Friday night. The Italian capital will act as one of 11 host cities, with a further three fixtures also due to be held at the ground affectionately called home by AS Roma and Lazio.
Keep an eye out for ‘Skillzy’, the official Euros mascot ‘inspired by freestyling, street and panna culture’.
More familiar faces will come in the form of legendary U2 pair Bono and The Edge, who have joined forces with DJ Martin Garrix for ‘We are the People’ – the official song of Euro 2020.
Andrea Bocelli, meanwhile, just recently confirmed his intention to perform the iconic ‘Nessun Dorma’ at the event, having of course previously brought more than a few Leicester City fans to tears with a stunning rendition of the anthem at the King Power Stadium back in 2016.
Roma and Lazio legends Francesco Totti and Alessandro Nesta will also be in attendance, in front of a 16,000-strong Olimpico crowd.
First look at how the BBC will broadcast Euro 2020
Friday’s action will be broadcast live on the BBC, and will set the tone for the summer courtesy of graphics, montages, music – and of course the tournament pundits.
For those outside of the United Kingdom, check out UEFA’s official list of broadcast partners here.
Italy’s red-hot form
Now, onto the opening fixture itself: Italy vs Turkey. Roberto Mancini’s hosts will enter the clash brimming with confidence, amid the finest spell of pre-tournament form of any of the 24 nations involved.
The Azzurri, remarkably, are unbeaten in any of their last 26 fixtures, a run which includes eight straight victories, without the concession of a single goal.
Even more jaw-dropping is the fact that Italy have not fallen to defeat in a competitive fixture on home soil since all the way back in 1999.
Worthy of their ‘dark horse’ tag heading into Euro 2020? The stats would certainly suggest so…
Lining up against the red-hot 4-time world champions on Friday night, though, will be several stars well accustomed to the stylings of Italian football.
Merih Demiral has struck up a formidable partnership alongside Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu at the heart of Turkey’s backline of late, despite his struggles for game-time with Juventus. The 23-year-old will therefore be hoping to make a telling impression up against Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, both of whom were favoured by Andrea Pirlo over the Bianconeri’s season run-in.
Elsewhere, Hakan Calhanoglu again played a central role for AC Milan in 2020/21, and will be tasked as chief creator in breaking down a stout Italian defensive line at the Olimpico. The midfielder, tipped for a move to the Premier League with Arsenal of late, will also face off with a familiar face or two, with long-time Rossoneri teammate Gianluigi Donnarumma poised to take his place between the posts for Italy.
There are several star names in this Turkey squad, but none is bigger than Hakan Çalhanoğlu, especially following his productive 2020/21 campaign.
He will be tasked with supplying their forwards with chances, and their fans will be hoping he brings his fine form to the Euros. pic.twitter.com/4EBP49Kicg
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) June 6, 2021
Italy vs Turkey Head-to-Head
Turkey and Italy have faced off on ten previous occasions.
Somewhat concerningly for the former, Turkey have never gotten the better of their upcoming hosts, having slipped to a hefty seven defeats.
The nations’ only prior meeting at the European Championships came in 2000, when goals from Antonio Conte and Pippo Inzaghi guided Italy to a 2-1 win.