Our wait is finally over as EURO 2020 is set to kick off this weekend. The 1968 Champions, Italy will start the tournament in Olimpico Roma by hosting Turkey, one of the most anticipated dark horses after their stunning early campaign in World Cup 2022 qualifiers. This encounter rekindles the first meeting at the opening match of group B in EURO 2000 when Antonio Conte and Co defeated Mustafa Denizli’s side. The result could repeat itself here considering Roberto Mancini’s men’s home advantage.
Both teams’ latest news
There is no much of a surprise in Turkey squad for the summer tournament. Yet, Senol Gunes seems to be relying less on the veterans by only including Lille man, Burak Yilmaz, while Cenk Tosun and Erkin Caner have been left out. Only Verona’s Mert Cetin and Celta Vigo man Emre Mor who did not make the cut. Such is understandable as both have not thrived in their team this season. Turkey’s results in the friendly matches before the kick-off have been satisfactory with two wins and a draw.
Italy’s final squad looks promising but still includes the veterans Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini plus the unfit Marco Verratti. However, Mancini lays his confidence on the youngsters as well such as Sassuolo’s Giacomo Raspadori and Manuel Locatelli, Roma man Lorenzo Pellegrini, Inter centre back Alessandro Bastoni and last but not least Federico Chiesa. Their impressive form in three preparatory games with three convincing wins should put them as one of the underrated favourites.
Senol Gunes’s squad is filled with the players who have been the vital figures in their clubs, especially at the defence. The 4-1-4-1 formation with the transition to 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 would still be Gunes’ main option, especially against offensive Gli Azzurri. Burak Yilmaz would be the main frontman, while Yusuf Yazici or Kenan Karaman can move forward in turn to help the 35-year old skipper. Hakan Calhanoglu would be the anchorman in the midfield.
Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini has been able to transform the pragmatic Italy under Antonio Conte to the offensive one counting on 4-3-3 formation. Ciro Immobile should get a nod over Andrea Belotti to lead the attack accompanied by Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne.
Players to watch
Leicester man Caglar Soyuncu is definitely the key man on the backline. The 24-year old defender has earned 35 caps. AC Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu will occupy the number ten role in build-up while Leicester man Cengiz Under could be brought on later to break the deadlock.
Lazio forward Ciro Immobile would have his chance to prove that he can also thrive in different formation than in Lazio’s 3-5-2. He has only notched up 13 goals in 46 caps, which is actually less effective than Torino man Andrea Belotti who has registered 12 goals in 33 games only. Another notable name to watch is surely the versatile Federico Chiesa.
Turkey vs Italy Prediction
Leonardo Bonucci and Co will be taking control of the game for sure. However, the main question would be on how many chances can be capitalised into goals when facing off Turkish’ strong defence. By looking back on Senol Gunes’ side in the world cup qualifiers, they can concede three goals against Latvia. This could boost Mancini’s men to score at least twice here for their first win.
The home side is the slight favourite in this clash. They are backed to win at 3/5. The value for a draw is the highest at 3/1 whereas Turkey’s win market is at 7/1.