The Olympic in Rome will be the stage where today, a year later than planned, Euro 2020 begins with an Italy-Turkey, an edition postponed due to the pandemic, with the main novelty being played in 11 venues.
In 2012, UEFA gave the go-ahead to the idea of commemorating the 60th anniversary of the event with a multi-site format, in several countries.
Due to the pandemic, among the 12 cities that would initially host, two were lowered: a few weeks ago Dublin gave up and its matches were scheduled for Saint Petersburg, in Russia, which was already the headquarters together with Germany (Allianz Arena / Munich) , England (Wembley / London), Italy (Olympic / Rome), Denmark (Copenhagen / Parken), Azerbaijan (Olympic / Baku), Netherlands (Johan Cruyff / Amsterdam), Romania (National Arena / Bucharest), Hungary (Puskas Arena / Budapest), Scotland (Hampden Park / Glasgow) and Spain, with La Cartuja de Sevilla also relieving San Mamés and Bilbao for health issues.
The semi-finals and final on July 11 will be played at Wembley. All stadiums will have limited capacity due to the pandemic.
The responsibility of defending the crown belongs to Portugal, something that only Spain has been able to achieve, which chained the titles of 2008 and 2012.
Those of Fernando Santos come with new values and the voracity of Cristiano Ronaldo, but they will start in the group of death.
There too, along with Hungary, are two favorites: France and Germany, especially the former, current world champion and who wants to remove the thorn of having lost the final of their edition five years ago, precisely against Ronaldo and company. Didier Deschamps’s men are frightening with an offensive where Karim Benzema has returned to join forces with Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.
Joachim Löw’s men, in their last tournament with Germany, want to fire their coach with a dignified performance, after failing to make it past the first round at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
AZZURRA KICKBACK AFTER THE COVID-19 CRISIS
In a sense, it seems appropriate for Italy, the first European country to be overwhelmed by COVID-19, to host the opening match of the Euro.
The largest crowd gathered in Italy in a year and a half will witness an Azzurri team in their debut against Turkey that will seek to surprise today at the Olympic in Rome.
We wait a year; We can’t wait to hear 15,000 people sing the anthem, ”said veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci. “Soccer with fans in the stands is another sport.”
Italy suffered the humiliation of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but they won all ten of their Euro qualifying matches and have gone 27 games without losing. “We’re going for the title,” Bonucci said.
Turkey added four points against France in qualifying, including a 2-0 win over the world champions, and lost just one match, to finish second in their group.
Both teams have top scorers.
Ciro Immobile (Lazio) won the European Ballon d’Or by equaling a Serie A mark with 36 goals in the 2019-20 season. In the following campaign he scored 20.
Burak Yilmaz, second on Turkey’s top gunners list with 29 goals, has just won France’s Ligue 1 with Lille.
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