EURO 2020 PREVIEW: Turkey vs Italy – Team News and Match Facts

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Turkey and Italy get Euro 2020 under way in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Friday, one year later than planned because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 16,000 fans are expected to attend the opener – with supporters expected at all 51 games across 11 countries this summer.

Roberto Mancini’s Italy have won their past eight games without conceding a goal and are unbeaten since 2018.

Turkey are being tipped by many to cause a few surprises this summer.

Their squad includes three of Lille’s Ligue 1 title-winning squad, striker Burak Yilmaz, midfielder Yusuf Yazici and defender Zeki Celik.

This will be the first major tournament game to be held in Italy since the 1990 World Cup.

Wales and Switzerland meet in the group’s other game in Baku on Saturday (14:00 BST).

TEAM NEWS

Turkey are without Cenk Tosun, their top scorer in qualifying, who misses Euro 2020 after injuring his knee in April.

Lille striker Yilmaz, 35, will lead the line, while winger Cengiz Under may start after scoring as a substitute in their last warm-up match.

Italy could name the same team that beat the Czech Republic in a friendly last week.

Marco Verratti has yet to recover from a knee problem, so Manuel Locatelli is likely to again start in midfield.

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.

Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini was injured in training on Wednesday, and Italy are awaiting confirmation from Uefa that they will be able to call-up Fiorentina’s Gaetano Castrovilli as a replacement.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Turkey have never beaten Italy, losing seven of 10 encounters, although the two most recent fixtures – friendlies in 2002 and 2006 – ended in 1-1 draws.
  • The only meeting at a major tournament came exactly 21 years ago (on 11 June) at Euro 2000, when the Azzurri won 2-1 in Arnhem thanks to goals from Antonio Conte and Pippo Inzaghi. Okan Buruk briefly equalized for the Turks, scoring their first goal at a European Championship finals.

Turkey

  • Turkey have lost their opening game at all four of their previous European Championship appearances.
  • They have scored a total of 14 goals in six matches this calendar year, only failing to net once (in May’s 0-0 draw with Guinea).
  • Turkey’s squad has an average age of 24 days and 352 days, the lowest of any side at Euro 2020.
  • Senol Gunes’ side were the only team not to concede a single goal from open play in Euro 2020 qualifying, while their overall total of three goals conceded was a joint low with Belgium.
  • They have only kept one clean sheet in their last 10 games at either the World Cup or European Championship, though it came in their most recent match – a 2-0 win against the Czech Republic in the group stage of Euro 2016.

Italy

  • The Azzurri are unbeaten in their past 27 matches, the second longest undefeated run in their history.
  • They have won eight consecutive games, three short of their record winning streak (set in 2019).
  • Roberto Mancini’s men have kept clean sheets in each of those victories and have gone 785 minutes (over 13 hours) without conceding.
  • Despite playing 38 matches at the European Championship, the Italians have never scored more than twice in a single game.
  • They have been involved in eight goalless draws at the tournament, more than any other side.
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