Euro 2020: Group A – Turkey vs Italy

Turkey kick off Euro 2020 as they meet Italy at Stadio Olimpico, Rome in the opening match of Group A and the tournament.

Senol Gunes’ Turkey are bidding for their first major title, whereas Italy are looking to win the competition for the first time in 53 years.

 

Team News

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Turkey have no fresh injury concerns to report as Premier League quartet of Caglar Soyuncu, Ozan Kabak, Okay Yokuslu and Cengiz Under all push for starts.

Italy will be without Stefano Sensi who has withdrawn from the squad with a muscle injury, with Matteo Pessina receiving a call-up in his compatriot’s place.

 

Stat Attack

  • Turkey lost their only previous European Championship clash against Italy, losing 2-1 in Arnhem, Netherlands in June 2000 coincidentally 21 years to the very date they meet again at Euros.
  • Italy are yet to lose to Turkey in all competitions (W10, D5).
  • Turkey have already played two matches in 2021 on neutral territory in Spain and Germany respectively against Norway and Moldova, winning both games with clean sheets and five goals.
  • Roberto Mancini’s Italy have conceded just once in their last 12 matches across all competitions (W10, D2).
  • Burak Yilmaz has scored five goals for Turkey in four appearances in 2021.

 

Prediction

With both teams entering this match in great form, I definitely do expect this opening game to be a competitive contest, especially given the goalscoring ability amongst both teams.

Italy though have kept eight consecutive clean sheets and scored at least twice during each game in this run, which is evident of the hard work put in by Mancini who could of easily cleared out the old guard when he took over in May 2018 yet he has blended youth and experience together in a solid 4-3-3 system.

Turkey meanwhile have been quite flexible in their formation and tactics which makes them a tough team to predict coming into this game, although they have already beaten another resurgent team this year after stunning Netherlands 4-2 in March so know how much pressure will be on Italy to nail the perfect start.

It is worth noting though that Italy will have the home crowds behind them in their home stadium which will give them a boost, so I can see a cagey contest with the result coincidentally matching that of their last Euro meeting on the very same date.

Prediction: Turkey 1-2 Italy

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