The European Football Championship will kick off today, Friday, with a match between Italy and Turkey at 10:00 KSA, at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, with 24 teams participating in the tournament, hosted by 11 cities across the European continent.It is expected that 16,000 spectators will attend the Olympic Stadium, at 25% of its capacity, according to the Corona protocol.
Italy returns to participate in the major tournaments of the strongest continental championship, after its failure to qualify for the World Cup Russia 2018, where today’s match will be the first confrontation in a major tournament after the quarter-finals of the 2016 European Cup when it lost to Germany on penalties.
Observers believe that coach Roberto Mancini’s squad is capable of playing the role of the dark horse in the finals, but the four-time world champion does not possess a striking attacking line such as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, France’s Kilian Mabe and England’s Harry Kane.
Despite scoring a record 150 goals with Lazio in 5 seasons, the Azzurri striker Immobile has not yet reached the rank of superscorer that the continent’s defenders fear.
Mancini rebuilt his squad from scratch, leading a team that had not lost in 27 consecutive matches.
“Immobile” won the Golden Boot title in Europe, for scoring 36 goals with Lazio in the local league season 2019-2020, and then adding 20 goals last season, in which Lazio finished sixth.
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 relegating his team to seventeenth place in “Serie A”.
Behind Immobile and Belotti, there is the young Giacomo Rasbadori, who could give Mancini an additional offensive option.
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 their next opponent Turkey in 10 matches (7 wins and 3 draws), Italy and its defense may face the threat of veteran striker Burak Yilmaz.
“Braak” plays in the finals, excited about winning the French League title in his first season with Lille, and was the best scorer in his ranks with 16 goals in 28 games.
Yilmaz will be the main source of danger with Turkey, after scoring 5 goals in 4 matches for his country in 2021.