Euro 2020 finally is upon us, as Turkey and Italy meet in the opener, albeit a little bit later than anyone could have imagined.
The teams will meet Friday in Rome at Stadio Olimpico in the opening game of the 2020 UEFA European Championship. The matchup will kick off play in Group A, and both teams know a victory will represent a giant step toward the knockout stage.
Turkey is in the Euros for the fifth time since its debut in 1996. A semifinal finish in 2008 is its best finish. After finishing third in its group at Euro 2016, Turkey failed to progress to the knockout rounds.
Italy, one of Europe’s traditional powers, is in the Euros for the seventh tournament in a row. Its best finish was its 1968 triumph and it also finished runner-up in 2000 and 2012. Italy reached the quarterfinals at Euro 2016.
Meetings between these teams in major tournaments are rare, as the last one came at Euro 2000 when Italy beat Turkey 2-1 in the group stage. Prior to that, they faced off twice in qualifying for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, with the teams drawing in Italy, and the Azzuri winning in Istanbul.
Euro 2020 was supposed to take place in summer 2020, but it is among the many sports competitions the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone. But it’s here now. Away we go.
Here’s when and how to watch Turkey-Italy in the United States.