Euro 2020: The start of the 16th edition of Rome and France are the favorites to win the title | sport

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Dutch referee Danny McKelley blows the start whistle on Friday evening at 10:00 (Beirut time) to announce the start of the opening match of the 2021 European Football Championship between Turkey and Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, with the attendance of about 16 thousand people. 24 teams, led by the “Duke” France, who seek to repeat the achievement of the 1998 generation led by Zinedine Zidane, which is winning the continental cup two years later, the World Cup.
All roads lead to Rome! After waiting for a whole year due to the Corona virus pandemic, the European Football Championship 2021 will start on Friday evening at nine (seven GMT) with a promising opening match between Turkey and Italy in the first group competitions, which also includes Wales and Switzerland.
The confrontation, which will be held at the “Olympico” stadium in the Italian capital, and attended by 16,000 people, will be directed by Dutch referee Danny McKelle. The starting whistle will be the beginning of a long-standing competition that will last a whole month, and it will also be an indicator and signal announcing the gradual recovery of Italy and the European continent from the epidemic and their exit from the Corona virus tunnel that threatened their human and economic strength.
The European Football Association (Wifa) stressed the importance of opening matches to the fans, albeit to a limited extent, that is, with fans attending between 22 and 50 percent of the capacity of each stadium in the 11 cities that hosted matches on their soil. It is likely that the percentage will be completed one hundred percent in the stadium “Puskas Arena” in Budapest, by decision of the right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. This beautiful stadium was inaugurated in November 2019 specifically for the European Nations Cup, and it has a capacity of 67,000 spectators. Hungary will host Portugal on June 15 and France on June 19.
In general, “Wifa” relied on “bubbles” in the ranks of the teams to avoid the emergence of new cases of the Corona virus, as well as other measures such as successive arrival of fans to the stadiums or disinfection and separation.
However, the talk of the hour is about sports and football, about excitement and suspense, about expectations and speculation. Who do you think will raise the cup in the sky of London on July 11? Will the French world champions strip Cristiano Ronaldo of the title? Will the unprecedented competition result in surprises?
There is no doubt that the opening match between the Turks and the Italians will give the first answers to these questions. There is no doubt that the 24 teams participating in “Euro 2021” will present the most beautiful images and engage in a fierce struggle to overcome competitors and roles. Before the start of the competition, it can be confirmed by saying that France, the holder of the world title and runner-up in 2016, seems the most armed and powerful team to win the cup.
Didier Deschamps’ team recorded the return of his spoiled son and Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, 33, after he was absent from the squad for more than five years due to a personal conflict between him and Deschamps over a sexual scandal that affected the player with his former teammate, Matteo Valbuena.
Benzema expressed his happiness with the popular support he received upon his return, saying: “Things went very well. I feel the atmosphere and what is going on around me, it is wonderful. What is happening allows me to focus a lot on what I need to do on the pitch, because that is what The most important thing.”
Although France won the 2018 World Cup without Benzema, they will benefit from the maturity of the former Lyon player and his great influence in playing, as he had a wonderful season with Real Madrid. With Benzema, Deschamps’ vision will become clear and he will have multiple and varied options and plans, especially in preparing an awesome triple attacking force with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann. This will help the team achieve the dream of a World Cup-Euro double, as Deschamps and his colleagues did in 1998 and 2000.
But before contemplating the binary, the “roosters” have to get out of the “death” group that includes Portugal, Germany and Hungary. And they will play the first match next Tuesday in the form of a duel in the heavyweight category against the “Manschaft” at the “Allianz Arena” in Munich. The match may be fateful if one side or the other loses.
Behind the “roosters” line up Belgium and its golden generation led by Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, England and its bold youth led by Phil Foden, and Portugal with its offensive arsenal led by Cristiano Ronaldo (36 years), who is participating in the European Nations Cup for the fourth time. In a move that alarmed the Portuguese’s intent and morale, coach Fernando Santos said in an unmistakable message: “We are favorites to win the title.”
Ronaldo is expected to compete in the continental championship for the last time in his international career, which began in 2004 when Portugal lost to Greece 0-1 in the final in the capital, Lisbon.
For their part, the Belgian “Red Devils” enter the competition with a confrontation that appears within their reach on Saturday against Russia in Group Two, along with the teams of Denmark and Finland. The squad of coach (Spanish) Roberto Martinez did not witness any surprise, and it included most of the stars who won third place in the 2018 World Cup, led by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois) “and Kevin De Bruyne and Inter striker Romelu Lukaku, as well as Real Madrid striker Eden Hazar, who is striving to restore His form after a season was marked by injuries.
In turn, the England team finds itself in front of an opportunity to win this tournament for the first time in its history, as it plays its matches in the group stage and the knockout rounds (until the final) at Wembley Stadium in London. Coach Gareth Southgate is counting on the experience of his most prominent players, such as the World Cup top scorer in Russia Harry Kane or Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, enhanced by the youth skills of Phil Foden (Manchester City player) and Jaden Sancho (Borussia Dortmund).
Southgate did not hide his team’s ambitions, acknowledging that not reaching at least the semi-finals would be considered a failure. “Are we ready to win? We reached the semi-finals twice, so the next step is to go further,” he told AFP, referring to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals when he finished fourth.
And the “Three Lions” team needs to win its matches in the fourth group, which also includes neighboring Scotland, Croatia, the runner-up to the world champion and the Czech Republic, in order to guarantee playing at Wembley Stadium in the final price.
It is not possible to imagine a major international tournament without four-time world champion Italy, but this is what happened in the World Cup in Russia 2018, when the “Squadra Azura” failed to reach the finals.
Since then, coach Roberto Mancini has been rebuilding a team from scratch. The mission of the former Sampdoria player seems to be 100% successful after he led his players to regain the tone of victories, to qualify for the European Nations Cup without tasting the bitterness of losing. And they will seek on Friday evening against Turkey to extend a series of 27 consecutive unbeaten matches.
On the other hand, the Turkish team placed its hopes in the veteran goal sniper Burak Yilmaz (35 years), the French champion with Lille, and scored five goals in four matches for his country in 2021.
Source: France 24





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