What can we expect from this one?
Well if I knew that I’d be a rich man. But seriously, it’s a pretty spicy tournament opener between two of the tournament dark horses.
Italy are probably among the second rung of favourites, to be fair, having not lost a game since 2018. They play some really slick football under Roberto Mancini, who has completely rebuilt the side after their shocking failure to make the last World Cup.
I think they’re good for a semi-final spot, bearing in mind that team unity goes a long way in international football. The Azzurri have the right blend of veterans and young talent, from the grizzled centre-backs Bonucci and Chiellini, to the dynamic Barella in midfield. The big question is whether they can find a reliable goalscorer in this tournament. Anyone will do, but Super Ciro Immobile, I’m mostly looking at you.
Turkey, meanwhile, impressed in qualifying, taking 4 points off France and beating The Netherlands 4-2. They have a couple of big, aggressive central defenders in Söyüncü and Demiral and plenty of players who have been in great form in club football. Yazici and Burak were among the goals for new French champions Lille.
BUT, Turkey do leak a few goals at the back. I’m expecting Insigne especially to cause some mayhem and Italy to get some early momentum in this tournament with a first-up win.