It may be a year late but Euro 2020 finally gets under way on Friday evening and there is a cracking match to kick off proceedings, with Turkey taking on an in-form Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Gli Azzurri Eyeing Euro Glory
8/1 to win the tournament, Italy look well worth taking on at that price given the fact they head into the major event on a 27-game unbeaten streak, just three short of the benchmark set by Vittorio Pozzo’s legendary team of the 1930s.
Failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was a huge blot on the national team’s glittering CV, but the appointment of Roberto Mancini in May 2018 has the country dreaming of a second European Championship title to add to their success of 1968.
Under the former Manchester City manager, Italy have only suffered two defeats from his 32 matches at the helm, both of those coming at the start of his reign, and they have been particularly good at the back – keeping 20 clean sheets.
Mancini’s men were a perfect 10 from 10 in qualifying for the Euros – a feat matched only by Belgium – and Gli Azzurri should be able to start off with a win at odds of
1/2 against Turkey on Friday evening (20:00 KO).
Italy to Nullify Turkey Threat
Turkey are no mugs and they head into the clash on a six-game unbeaten run, keeping three clean sheets in the process, but barring the Netherlands, the Crescent-Stars haven’t faced opposition of any real note during this purple patch, taking on the likes of Azerbaijan, Latvia, Guinea and Moldova.
The fact this game is away from home for Senol Gunes’ side is also a worry, given the fact they have struggled to pick up wins with regularity on their travels.
Although beating Norway 3-0 in their last away game, Turkey had failed to win any of their previous four before that – losing one and drawing three.
Also, Italy have never lost to Turkey, and the fact Mancini’s men haven’t conceded in over 13 hours of football, a statistic that further highlights their impressive form at the back and suggests another shutout is on the cards.
Italy to win to nil is available at
11/10 and looks a solid shout.
Tight Encounter Expected in Rome
The opening match of a tournament can often be quite cagey and Friday’s encounter could follow a similar path, with neither side looking to make an early mistake in the major event.
Interestingly, despite playing 38 matches at the European Championship, the Italians have never scored more than twice in a single game, while Turkey, who have lost their opening game at all four of their previous European Championship appearances, were the only team not to concede a single goal from open play in Euro 2020 qualifying.
A low-scoring affair could be on the cards and it is
20/31 for there to be under 2.5 goals.
*All odds correct at time of writing