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Euro 2020 at a glance : The Azurris kick-off in style

- Italy begun their campaign as Group A favourites when they took on the Turkish at the Stadio Olimpico, before group rivals Wales and Switzerland meet in Baku today

The opening contest of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship saw Italy putting in a dominant performance and cruising to victory in style with 3-0 win over Turkey.

With a colourful opening ceremony, the 16th Euros finally got underway a year behind schedule and with the coronavirus continuing to cast a shadow over the tournament.

The 2020 UEFA Euros is being held across the continent for the first time in the competition’s 60-year history, with 11 host cities in all. It takes place between June 11 and July 11 with 24 teams.

Synopsis

 A Colourful night with virtual performances, the opening ceremony of 2020 Euros was brief but communicated a deep message which lasted for about 20minutes.

– Italy begun their campaign as Group A favourites when they took on the Turkish at the Stadio Olimpico, before group rivals Wales and Switzerland meet in Baku today. 

– Italy was certainly dominating, but found clear-cut chances hard to come by.

– Turkey left no space behind their defensive line and successfully thwarted the Italians to see the game goalless at the break in Rome.

– Merih Demiral’s own goal put Italy ahead before Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne netted for Roberto Mancini’s side in the Group A opener.

– All the goals came in the second half in front of a Stadio Olimpico that was filled to a quarter of its capacity.

– Italy made history, scoring more than two goals in a EURO match for the first time, in their 39th finals outing.

–  Italy’s forward Ciro Immobile scored his 14th Italy goal.

– Italy is now unbeaten in 28 international games, (W23 D5), dating back to September 2018 (vs Portugal) and yet to concede a goal in 2021.

– Merih Demiral’s own goal was only the tenth in EURO history.

– Turkey have lost their opening match in all five EUROs they have contested.

– The Crescent-Stars suffered only their third defeat in 21 games (W9 D9 L3).

– Turkey has never beaten Italy. Of the 11 times that the two sides have met, Italy have won 8 times and drawn the remaining 3.

TODAY’S GAMES 

Saturday is the first triple-header day of UEFA EURO 2020, as Wales play Switzerland, Denmark face Finland and Belgium meet Russia.

Wales vs Switzerland Olympic Stadium, Baku  1PM

Ranked 17 in the world, Wales is making another appearance at the European tournament . The Dragons went all the way to the semi-finals at Euro 2016, losing out to eventual winners Portugal.

Gareth Bale is Wales’ all-time top scorer with 33 goals, while he also netted more than any other Welsh player in their only previous European Championships appearance.

Other players to watch are ; Aaron Ramsey and Dan James.

Switzerland have not seen much success in international tournaments but topped their qualifying group despite the absence of Xherdan Shaqiri. Shaqiri is set to play a key creative role for the Swiss and will need to step up in this match.

This afternoon’s encounter is big game . Any team who looses this game risks an early exit from Group A which includes giants like Italy, Turkey. 

Denmark vs Finland Parken StadiumCopenhagen, 4PM

Denmark, with Kasper Schmeichel out to emulate his Euro 1992-winning dad Peter, have been on a winning streak and went unbeaten throughout the qualifiers. Playing at home, they should find their way past Finland, who last recorded a win back in November.

Belgium vs Russia  Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg 7PM

Belgium begin their campaign without midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel;the two players continue their injury recovery.

This promises to be a cracker. With names like Romelo Lukaku and Eden Hazard, Belgium, who finished third at the 2018 World Cup, are a force to be reckoned with.

World Cup quarter finalists Russia meanwhile, will depend on Monaco’s Alexsandr Golovin for star power as most of their team are home-based. In Zenit St Petersburg’s Artem Dyzuba, they have a lethal scorer.

Acknowledgement: Betway Ghana (Headline Sponsor)

Mark F. | SilverFM 

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