Italy and Turkey summit is the opening title of the European Nations Cup |

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Rome- Rome cuts the ribbon for the European Cup soccer competition on Friday, when Italy plays Turkey at the Olympic Stadium in front of 16,000 spectators. Italian striker Ciro Immobile plans to expel the demons of failing to qualify for the last World Cup in Russia, when his country returns to participating in major tournaments against Turkey in the opening match. Observers believe that coach Roberto Mancini’s squad is capable of playing the role of the dark horse in the finals, after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

But the four-time world champion does not have a striking attacking line like Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, France’s Kylian Mabe and England’s Harry Kane. Despite scoring a record 150 goals with Lazio in five seasons, Immobile has not yet reached the super-scorer rank that defenders in the continent fear.

  • Founding of the National Football Association: 1904
  • Nickname: Azzurri
  • Technical Director: Roberto Mancini
  • Team Captain: Giorgio Chiellini
  • Key Players: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
  • Best result in European Championships: winning the title in 1968

The 31-year-old striker bore the brunt of criticism for his inability to score in the World Cup qualifying playoff loss against Sweden in November 2017. “I did not want to continue playing, the thoughts were dark and it was difficult for me to control them,” Immobile recalls.

Mancini rebuilt his squad from scratch, leading a team that had not lost in 27 consecutive matches. Immobile then won the European Golden Shoe title, scoring 36 goals with Lazio in the 2019-2021 local league, then adding 20 goals last season, in which Lazio finished sixth.

For the former German Borussia Dortmund striker, this may be the last chance to shine on the international scene with Squadra Azzura.

“I’m not technically talented, but I make up for it with strength, perseverance and cunning,” he continued. The Italian national team has not achieved much success since Immobile came to the national team in 2014. He scored 13 goals in 46 international matches, but he found stability in the era of Mancini, in which he scored 6 goals. Italy’s attacking line also includes Andrea Belotti, a Turin player, who scored 12 goals in 33 matches. But the 27-year-old has limited experience. He won one second division title with Palermo in 2014.

Belotti scored 13 goals for Torino last season, to avoid relegation to 17th place in Serie A. Behind Immobile and Belotti, there is the young Giacomo Rasbadori, who could give Mancini an additional offensive option.

  • Founding of the National Football Association: 1923
  • Nickname: Crescent Stars
  • Technical Director: Şenol Gunes
  • Team Leader: Burak Yilmaz
  • Key Players: Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester City, England), Burak Yilmes (Lille, France)
  • Best result in European Championships: Golden Square in 2008

On Wednesday, the Italian Federation announced the withdrawal of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini from the squad due to a muscle injury in his thigh, and requested his replacement with Fiorentina’s Gaetano Castrovilli.

Another midfielder is likely to be absent, Marco Verratti, because he has not recovered from the injury, and there are doubts about Stefano Sensei’s participation in the middle as well.

Despite not losing to its next opponent Turkey in 10 matches (7 wins and 3 draws), Italy and its defense may face the threat of veteran striker Burak Yilmaz.

“King Burak” is playing in the finals, excited about winning the French League title in his first season with Lille, and he was the best scorer in his ranks with 16 goals in 28 games.

Yilmaz will be the main source of danger with Turkey, after he scored 5 goals in four matches for his country in 2021. “Our main goal is the match against Italy,” said Yilmaz, 35, knowing that his country will then face Wales and Switzerland in the first group.

“We play better against the big teams,” Yilmaz added. We must win this match. Do not fear anyone on the field. We want to start the tournament in the best possible way and take Turkey to the place it deserves.”

He added, “Our impressive results in the European and World Cup qualifiers raised the ceiling of expectations among our fans. We are aware of that and we bear the responsibility.” A year after the tournament was postponed due to the Corona pandemic, it kicks off Friday in Rome with the participation of 24 teams and hosted by 11 cities across the European continent.

It is expected that 16,000 spectators will attend the Olympic Stadium, 25% of its capacity, according to the Corona protocol. And for Italy, holders of the 1968 title, it will be the first match in a major tournament since the quarter-finals of the 2016 European Cup, when they lost to Germany on penalties.





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