The long wait will come to an end tonight. Italy and Turkey will kick off the European Football Championship 2020 at 9 pm in Rome – with a year delay – An opening match that is not to be missed. Filip Joos, commentator at the game tonight, gives us 5 reasons.
1) Impressive Turkey with old striker and lost super talent
“I remember once accidentally bumping into Turkey-France while zapping. It was unlikely: the Turks played the world champion from pillar to post in the qualifying campaign.”
“Turkey’s 2-0 victory gave the French their first defeat since the triumph at the World Cup. Decompression, many thought. But a few months later it also became 1-1 in Paris…”
Cengiz Ünder is one of the biggest lost talents in football.
“Turkey is strong, by no means a brute at this European Championship. Everyone rediscovered Burak Yilmaz this season at the age of 35. He made Lille champion with his goals and scored a hat-trick against the Netherlands. Punishment. Especially because everyone always thought it was a Hakan Sükür story would be. Top in Turkey, but nothing across the border.”
“And then there’s Cengiz Ünder. One of the greatest lost talents in football. He was one of Arjen Robben’s many heirs to the throne.”
“If you saw him make his debut, you would have bet money that he would be. And yet for some reason it went wrong. Too much ‘la dolce vita’, it sounded in Italy. But also at Leicester he failed this season.”
At Lille, Yilmaz scored continuously.
2) Italy with club team patterns
“This Italy cannot be underestimated. It is the national team that plays most like a club team, with patterns that have been sharpened in it. The Red Devils also sometimes approach that – when De Bruyne and Tielemans play.”
“Conte already succeeded in that at the last European Championship. Then followed Gian Piero Ventura, who missed the 2018 World Cup with Italy. Now the team will want to take revenge for that shame. There are still boys who lost the crucial qualifying match against Sweden They will still have that match in mind.”
“As a teenager, I had a huge soft spot for Roberto Mancini as a football player. Keikop and genius in one. (laughs) At Sampdoria he once just stepped off the field when he disagreed with the referee. Besides Mancini are also Gianluca Vialli , Daniele De Rossi and Gabriele Oriali on the coaching bench. It is one full of football history.”
Roberto Mancini has put Italy on track.
3) Ode to the little ones
“This match is also an ode to the small Italian clubs. You can’t watch the opening game without feeling respect for Sassuolo, for example. They are purveyor with 5 players: Domenico Berardi, Giacomo Raspadori and Manuel Locatelli for Italy, Kaan Ayhan and Mert Muldur at Turkey.”
“Italy stronghold Nicolo Barella played for Inter at Cagliari. Marco Verratti, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne still played together at Pescara. It proves that football needs such teams. In times of Super Leagues, it’s not just the absolute wealthy who rule.”
Barella is Lukaku’s teammate at Inter.
4) An opening match with meat on and a ceremony with icons
“This is not an opening match like 3 years ago between Russia and Saudi Arabia. This is a game with meat on it, with two excellent teams.”
“In opening games, we all think back to Belgium-Argentina in 1982, when the Devils won after a goal by Erwin Vandenbergh. But then it was different.”
“Ah, such a first match is always worthwhile. This year for the ceremony alone. Francesco Totti and Alessandro Nesta will open the European Championship together on the field where they have been symbols. And the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs “Nessun Dorma” on. I would sit in front of my television.”
Alessandro Nesta listens to the opening ceremony.
5) Football party after year of patience
“Finally: we had to wait a year for this opening match. (laughs) It is bizarre that I will soon have to say “Welcome to EURO 2020”. Whether this European Championship symbolizes a celebration of freedom? side and there will be 16,000 supporters.”
“But this is not yet a full celebration of freedom. It is going slowly and perhaps that is also beautiful. A wisdom is that people who have suffered extreme hunger should start eating again in peace.”
Watch Turkey-Italy tonight at One, follow the match with text report and live stream on our channels or listen to Radio 1: