Three and a half years after living the saddest sports day in its history, with the failed qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Italy this friday the kick-off to the Eurocup with a high demand duel against Turkey, a team that knows how to give its best version in big events.
The stage of the Roman Olympic, with 16,000 spectators in the stands and the tenor Andrea Bocelli as the protagonist of the opening ceremony, hosts the beginning of a European Championship that for Italy should represent a redemption and the icing on the cake to the rebirth launched by the coach Roberto Mancini.
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The elimination suffered in November 2017 against Sweden in the World Cup play-off represented a “year zero” for Italy, which since then, after the arrival of Mancini, started again until chaining a streak of 27 games without knowing the defeat that they returned to the elite of European football.
There is nothing left no survivors of the 2006 world champion team, of which Gianluigi Buffon was the last to say goodbye, but Mancini put together a competitive team, which has elements of high international experience such as Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini or Marco Verratti, and young people called to definitively assert themselves among the greatest.
This is the case of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nicoló Barella, Federico Chiesa or Manuel Locatelli, who will have the challenge of replacing the injured Verratti this Friday at the Italian debut against Turkey.
Mancini collected the ashes of a group sunk and lacking in ideas and took advantage of that void to change the philosophy of the “azzurra” game. From defense and counterattack, he moved to an offensive attitude, based on possession and speed.
With these ideas, Italy qualified for the European Championship with a full win, ten out of ten, an achievement equaled only by Belgium, as well as getting into the final phase of the UEFA Nations League.
New Turkish boom
After this sweet moment, it is time to demonstrate this growth in a great official appointment, against a Turkey that is experiencing a new boom after the great results achieved by the group of 2008, semifinalist in the Eurocopa of Austria and Switzerland finally won by Spain.
The selector Senol Gunes It has a squad that mixes excellent technique, like that of Hakan Calhanoglu and Yusuf Yazici, and experience and character, like that of Burak Yilmaz, the new French champion gunner with Lille.
The Turks arrive in Rome after being undefeated, in the qualifying phase, of the double confrontation against France. They did it with four points in two games and with a team that knows how to defend itself with a lot of order, before doing damage in the offensive zone.
Full-back Merih Demiral knows Italy very well, playing for Juventus, and his teammate Caglar Soyuncu of Leicester is used to meeting Europe’s best forwards in the Premier League.
For Italy, waiting for Ciro Immobile, Lazio forward, to be decisive in the big international events, the goal must come from the choral game, with elements such as Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Berardi who will be key, along with Jorge’s technique. Frello Jorginho and Barella in the medullary, to open spaces in the Turkish defense.
Big appointment in sight to open the Eurocup, in a group A in which Switzerland and Wales are also framed, teams organized, committed and determined to fight.
Italy: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Insigne, Berardi, Immobile.
Turkey: Çakir; Celik, Soyuncu, Demiral, Meras; Yokuslu; Karaman, Yazici, Tufan, Calhanoglu; Yilmaz.
Referee: Danny Makkelie (HOL).
Stadium: Olympic of Rome.
Hour: 21.00 CET (19.00 GMT).