Countdown to Euro 2020: Daily briefing
Follow live coverage as Euro 2020 finally kicks off in Rome tonight.
Italy host Turkey in the tournament opener at the Stadio Olimpico, 12 months later than planned after the coronavirus pandemic forced a postponement. But a year on, 24 countries are ready to battle it out for the right to be crowned the continent’s best.
Martin Garrix, Bono and The Edge will take centre stage for the traditional curtain-raiser with a virtual performance that will use cutting-edge technology to bring fans closer to the festivities. Uefa have confirmed the three will perform a rendition of official tournament song We Are The People ahead of kick-off before Italy and Turkey get things going for real in the first match.
The performance, that Uefa say is themed around a real-life live stadium gig, will weave the song’s lyrics of “hope and positivity”, together with “powerful imagery brought to life by technology”, including the pitch being transformed into a blue-white flame, energy fields created from millions of light particles and Bono projected on to the stage. It was filmed in state-of-the-art motion-control studios in London, and at the Olimpico in Rome, to recreate the stadium environment in 3D.
Follow all the latest as Euro 2020 gets underway tonight:
What time is Euro 2020 opening ceremony and how can I watch it on TV?
Euro 2020 finally gets under way this week five years after the last European Championship tournament, and Rome will put on the tournament’s opening ceremony to mark the occasion before the opening match.
Eleven cities will play host in the first pan-continental competition in Euros history. It all begins on Friday night at the Stadio Olimpico where Turkey take on Group A favourites Italy, before games at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, Amsterdam’s Johan Cruyff Arena, Seville’s Stadium La Cartuja, Munich’s Allianz Arena, Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium, Budapest’s Puskas Arena, St Petersburg’s Krestovsky Stadium, Bucharest’s National Arean, Baku’s Olympic Stadium and London’s Wembley Stadium.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:59
Hoddle backs ‘dark horse’ Italy
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle called Italy ‘dark horses’ to win Euro 2020 ahead of the opening fixture between the Azzuri and Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Hoddle told The Mirror at a Betfair event that England are capable of lifting the trophy but singled out Roberto Mancini’s side.
“England are in a batch of Portugal, Germany, Spain and Italy – they might well be dark horses, they’ve sneaked in under the radar.
“So we’re in that secondary batch who can win it. We’ve got the offensive players to win it, it’s whether they can produce it out there on that pitch under pressure.”
Italy did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but have since completely revolutionised the team under Roberto Mancini. They are unbeaten in 27 games, winning the last eight with clean sheets and scoring 25 goals.
Italy also secured their place at the tournament by winning all 10 qualifiers.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:45
Turkey vs Italy prediction: How will Euro 2020 fixture play out tonight?
The hosts will be eager to stretch a 27-game unbeaten streak under Roberto Mancini.
And the former Inter Milan and Manchester City boss is delighted with the harmony in the group.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:33
Turkey keen to earn first opening game win
Turkey have lost all four of their opening games at Euro finals – this includes their opening match against Italy in the 2000 tournament where a Filippo Inzaghi penalty earned a 2-1 win for the Azzuri.
Turkey lost 1-0 to Croatia at Euro 2016 courtesy of a Luka Modric volley.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:22
Euro 2020: Roberto Mancini making up for lost time as he leads new-look Italy
A runners-up finish in Turkey with Galatasaray. A respectable if unspectacular season-and-a-half attempting to turn Inter’s tanker around. A disappointing year without distinction at Zenit Saint Petersburg. And now a stint in international football, where coaching careers often go to die. It is not typically what most Premier League title-winning managers do next, but then Roberto Mancini has always tended to do his own thing.
That was certainly the reputation he earned during his three years in Manchester which, though tumultuous, reshaped the city’s football landscape. If Pep Guardiola is the ideal figurehead for the present day Manchester City with their designs on world domination, then so was Mancini for the insurgent, sharp-elbowed City when they were looking to shake their new rich tag at the turn of the last decade.
Mancini’s bullish, direct manner and dictatorial idiosyncrasies would cause problems further down the line but it was what City needed to begin with. There was more than a little uncertainty inside the club when, for example, no more than a few weeks after his appointment, he vowed to tear down the ‘34 Years’ milometer-style banner in the Stretford End which recorded the length of their rivals’ long trophy drought. It was bold but he eventually made good on the promise and only allowed it to tick over another year.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:12
Mancini has Italy winning – and scoring – again
Italy were one of only two teams – alongside Belgium – to win each and every one of their 10 qualifying matches.
The Azzuri also scored 37 goals in their Euro 2020 qualification matches (3.7 per game), which was the same tally as they scored in qualification for Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 combined (37 goals in 22 games).
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 16:01
Turkey’s defensive wall
Turkey conceded only three goals in 10 games in the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, the joint-best defensive record alongside Belgium.
Their defence is anchored by Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:40
Italy have never lost at the Stadio Olimpico in a major tournament – World Cup or European Championship – winning six and drawing two. They also haven’t conceded a single goal in each of those last seven games.
Can Roberto Mancini’s side continue such form?
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:28
Immobile is Italy’s key to success
Singled out by Italy’s World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi, Ciro Immobile won the coveted European Golden Shoe award when he matched the Serie A record with 36 goals during the 2019/20 season. However, the Lazio striker has failed to replicate his club form on the international stage.
Having averaged 25 goals per season over his last five Serie A campaigns, the 31-year-old has underwhelmed for his country with just 12 goals in 45 caps, with many coming against European minnows.
Group games against Turkey, Switzerland and Wales offers Immobile a fine opportunity to improve upon this record.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:16
Lille duo are Turkey’s players to watch
Zeki Celik impressed in his 27 appearances for Lille this season, scoring three goals and providing two assists as the club stunned PSG to win Ligue 1. His performances have sparked interest from a number of Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Celik did not register any assists during qualification for the tournament, but the 24-year-old is a modern full-back. He made eight starts on the right-hand side of defence during the campaign.
Up front, Burak Yilmaz is Turkey’s second-highest scorer of all time, with his 29 goals putting him behind only the retired Hakan Suker. At 35 years old, he perhaps won’t reach Suker’s 51 goals – but the Lille striker is in excellent form as he netted 18 goals in all competitions last season.
Andrew Gamble11 June 2021 15:03