For just the second time in their history,
Turkey will participate in a second consecutive European Championships this summer after impressively negotiating their way through Qualifying Group H.
The Crescent-Stars finished second only to France and four points clear of Iceland, losing just one of their 10 games. Furthermore, no side in European Championship qualifying had a better defensive record, with Turkey conceding just three goals.
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But they face a tough task in their opening match against an Italian side looking to prove a point. After failing to reach the 2018 World Cup — their first major tournament absence since 1992 — the Azzurri qualified for this tournament with a 100% record across 10 games, scoring 37 goals and conceding just four times as they breezed past the likes of Finland, Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Roberto Mancini’s side has a very different look to the Italian outfit that crashed out of Euro 2016 at the quarter-final stage with a number of young prospects replacing veteran stars. It’s time to test them out on the big stage.
However, Italy are unbeaten at the Stadio Olimpico in major tournament football (World Cup and European Championships), winning six and drawing two. At the same time, Turkey are known to be slow starters in European Championships, losing all four of their opening games of the tournament – including a 2-1 defeat against Italy to kick off Euro 2000.