Turkey and Italy kick-off UEFA EURO 2020 in Rome, with the Azzurri looking to exploit home advantage at the Olimpico.
UEFA EURO 2020 kicks off in Rome as Italy – one of 12 host countries take on Turkey in the opening round of Group A games.
Italy has reached the quarter-final or better in their last three EURO appearances (W7 D3); they have also lost only one of their eight opening matches at a EURO final tournament since 1980 (W3 D4) – 3-0 to the Netherlands in 2008.
It has qualified for four previous Euro finals, reached the knockout stages twice and lost the opening match in each of its previous appearances, as well as scoring only once in Matchday 1 – against Italy in 2000.
This is the teams’ second meeting in a EURO final tournament. Italy beat Turkey 2-1 in their opening fixture at UEFA EURO 2000. The sides’ only other EURO fixtures came in qualifying for the 1964 event, Italy winning 6-0 at home. Italy kept clean sheets in each of the first five fixtures against Turkey, but have conceded one goal in the last five. The teams’ two most recent games have both been 1-1 friendly draws on Italian soil, in Pescara in November 2002 and Bergamo four years later.
FACTS ABOUT TURKEY:
Four years ago, Fatih Terim’s team finished third in their section behind Croatia and Spain, missing out on a place in the round of 16 despite concluding their group campaign with a 2-0 defeat of the Czech Republic. That proved insufficient for a place in the knockout stages after defeats by both Croatia (0-1) and Spain (0-3) – the latter equaling Turkey’s biggest defeat in the EURO finals. This is Turkey’s second match in Rome; they qualified for the 1954 World Cup with a 2-2 play-off draw against Spain at the Olimpico on 17 March that year, going through after the drawing of lots. Four of those points came against Les Bleus (2-0 h, 1-1 a), with France’s goal in the latter encounter the only one Turkey conceded in their last six qualifiers. That 2008 semi-final against Germany in Basel, Switzerland – which Turkey lost 3-2 – matched their greatest international achievement.
This is Turkey’s fifth appearance at a UEFA European Championship, having made their finals debut in 1996.
FACTS ABOUT ITALY:
This is Italy’s tenth final tournament and their seventh in a row since 1992. Only twice have they failed to advance through the group stage. Italy got as far as the quarter-finals at UEFA EURO 2016, beating holders Spain 2-0. Italy triumphed on home soil at the 1968 UEFA European Championship. They are undefeated in the Italian capital in FIFA World Cup matches; at final tournaments Italy’s record in Rome is W8 D2.
Italy’s only losses in their last 18 matches in Rome are three of their last six matches at the Olimpico. They have won all ten of their qualifiers to finish first in Group J, swelling the number of countries to have reached the finals with eight. The Azzurri made it 11 straight victories with a 9-1 home win against Armenia in their final qualifying game, the first time they had scored nine goals in a game since August 1948.WELCOME TO SPORTSMAG360