Bengaluru, June 11: After a delay of an year, UEFA European Championship finally kicks off on Friday, June 11 and the opening game of the mega tournament has what it takes to be a cracker.
Italy, who won the tournament just once in their glorious football history, will take on Turkey at the iconic Stadio Olimpico in Rome in the opening game of Group A, a group that has the potential to become the 'Group of Death'.
With three of the four teams ranked within 20 in the current FIFA rankings and Turkey sitting 29th, this could be the most fiercely contested group. Italy will be the only team to get home advantage in the group stage of the Euros and Roberto Mancini's boys should be clear favourites for the game.
The Azzurri are currently on an eight-game winning streak and won the games against San Marino and the Czech Republic prior to Euro 2020 convincingly. In fact, Italy are unbeaten in their last 27 games which is an extraordinary record and therefore, are one of the favourites for the silverware.
Meanwhile, Turkey have also been a difficult team to overcome since Senol Gunes took the hot seat of his country. They have lost just three out of their 26 games under the former Beşiktaş manager and had a solid preparation for the tournament.
Head to head record
The two teams have met 11 times in the past and Italy have never been on the end of a defeat. The Azzurri have recorded 8 victories over Turkey while three games have ended in stalemates.
Turkey - Burak Yılmaz
Aged 35 now, Burak Yılmaz still looks very much at the peak of his powers and has played a key role behind Lille's extraordinary run to the Ligue 1 title the past season. The dynamic striker will be booming with confidence ahead of the opening game and can cause plenty of problem even to the ever so reliable Italian defence.
Italy - Manuel Locatelli
Manuel Locatelli is one of the biggest midfield talents in the world right now and the 23-year-old is expected to play a key role for Italy in the Euros. And especially with Lorenzo Pellegrini having pulled out of the tournament due to injury and Marco Verratti also likely to miss the opening game, Locatelli has to take the responsibility to win the midfield battle for his country.
Turkey: Ugurcan Cakir; Zeki Celik, Merih Demiral, Caglar Soyuncu, Umut Meras; Okay Yokuslu; Hakan Calhanoglu, Ozan Tufan, Cengiz Under; Yusuf Yazici; Burak Yilmaz
Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Alessandro Florenzi, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Spinazzola; Nico Barella, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli; Domenico Berardi, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne
My Dream11 lineup
Goalkeeper - Donnarumma
Defenders - Celik, Florenzi, Bonucci
Midfielders - Calhanoglu, Jorginho, Locatelli, Tufan, Under
Forwards - Immobile, Yilmaz
Best Choice For Captain And Vice-Captain
Calhanoglu and Jorginho
Kick off time in India and how to watch Turkey vs Italy
Date: June 12 (Saturday), 2021
Time: 12:30 AM IST
TV Channels: Sony Ten 2/HD (English), Sony Ten 3/HD (Hindi), Sony Six/HD and Sony Ten 4/HD (Regional language)
Live Streaming: SonyLIV, Jio TV