Friday, June 25, 2021

Prediction: Turkey vs Italy

Verdict: Italy win & Under four goals

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Unibet

Two nations who will open up this summer’s delayed European Championships in Rome, Italy and Turkey will face off at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday night.

Turkey

Starting with Turkey, although they might have managed to sign off their preparations last week with a much-welcomed 2-0 victory against Moldova in home soil, Şenol Güneş’ side failed to lay down much of a marker. Shocking many across Europe as they could only muster a lacklustre 0-0 stalemate against Guinea in a friendly contest, The Crescent-Stars have gained a recent reputation for their inconsistencies. Enjoying what was nothing short of a stunning opening to March’s World Cup qualifiers earlier in the year and landing back-to-back thumping victories against Holland and Norway, Turkey could only follow that up with an action-packed 3-3 draw against a struggling Latvia. Although Güneş might find his side enjoying a run of form that has seen them lose just one of their last 13 straight contests across all formats, they certainly face a stern test in Rome on Friday night. However, if Turkey are to cause a real upset on foreign soil, they will be calling on attacking talisman Burak Yilmaz to lead their charge. Finding the net against Moldova last week and guiding Lille to the Ligue 1 title, the 35-year-old has bagged 23 goals so far this campaign.

Team News

Burak Yilmaz will lead Turkey’s charge on Friday and will be joined in attack by AC Milan winger Hakan Calhanoglu.

Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu will start at the heart of Şenol Güneş’ defence and could be partnered with Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak.

Italy

As for Italy, while the former world champions might open Friday’s meeting as the guests on paper, Roberto Mancini’s men will certainly have a hometown advantage. Last seen signing off their preparations with a hugely impressive 4-0 romp against the Czech Republic, Gli Azzurri have only continued on a remarkable run of form since missing out on a spot in Russia three years ago. Entering this summer’s tournaments with three friendly wins on the bounce, it is no surprise that many have tipped Italy as a landslide pick to top Group A later in the month. With the mood in their camp at what appears to be the highest it has been in recent memory, the former Manchester City boss finds his high-flying squad enjoying a remarkable unbeaten run that stems all the way back to September 2018. Also, opening March’s World Cup qualifiers with a real flurry, many around Italy will be excited by their continued success at the back. Mancini’s squad enter Friday’s meeting having gone almost 800 minutes without picking the ball out of their own net.

Team News

In a blow for Italy, PSG midfielder Marco Verratti looks set to miss out on Friday night with an ongoing knee issue. Juventus target Manuel Locatelli should get the nod from Roberto Mancini.

Lazio striker Ciro Immobile is expected to lead Italy’s charge at his home stadium ahead of Andrea Belotti.

Key Factors to Consider

    • Italy have won each of their last eight matchups on the bounce and are enjoying an unbeaten run that stems all the way back to September 2018.
    • Likewise, The Blues have also gone almost 800 minutes without picking the ball out of their own net.
    • Five of Turkey’s last six competitive games have finished with over 2.5 goals.
    • Lille striker Burak Yilmaz has recorded 23 goals for club and country so far this season, including a goal against Moldova in Turkey’s final friendly matchup.
    • Italy have won each of their last five straight competitive fixtures by a scoreline of 2-0.

    Conclusion

    Managing to sign off their preparations last week with what quickly turned into a real romp against the Czech Republic, there is no doubting that the mood in Italy’s camp is at a red-hot high. Really bursting their way back onto the major tournament stage with what has been a remarkable unbeaten run that stems back to September 2018, The Blues have even been tipped as a potential dark horse this summer. Gaining a fearsome reputation for their continued performances at the back and going almost 800 minutes without picking the ball out of their own net, Turkey should face a stern test in Rome. Really showing some continued inconsistencies since opening 2021, a run that has seen them settle for sluggish draws against both Guinea and Latvia, we’re backing a home win here.

    Verdict: Italy win & Under four goals

    Best Odds: 20/21

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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