It’s finally here! After a one-year delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the rescheduled European Championship got under way last night.
Domenico Berardi’s cutback flew in off Merih Demiral for an own goal before Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne wrapped up a 3-0 win against a very tired Turkish side.
There is veritable feast of games over the weekend, with England getting off and running in Group D against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday and Wales facing Switzerland in Baku this afternoon.
Saturday also sees Belgium meet Russia and Denmark face Finland, while on Sunday the Netherlands meet Ukraine and Austria collide with North Macedonia.
We’ll have all the build-up to those matches plus the very latest news from the England camp throughout the day.
Follow all the latest Euro 2020 news and build-up with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below!
England tactical look
England finally kick off their Euro 2020 campaign on Sunday, facing Croatia in a revenge job three years on from their World Cup semi-final showdown.
About last night
A flurry of second-half goals gave Italy a 3-0 win over Turkey in the opening match.
Ciro Immobile kicked in a rebound from close range and Lorenzo Insigne added another following a poor clearance. Both came after an own-goal from Turkey defender Merih Demiral had given Italy the lead.
The Italians dominated from the start but were denied in the first half by a superb save from Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir and a decision by the referee not to award a penalty for an apparent handball.
The Stadio Olimpico was only 25% full because of coronavirus measures and fans sat in small groups safely distanced from one another. The crowd of about 16,000 was still the largest gathering in Italy for a year and a half.
The Euros move to Baku on Day 2 of the tournament before heading to Copenhagen and then St. Petersburg.
The first match on today’s schedule is between Wales and Switzerland in Baku, following Italy’s win over Turkey.
The middle match pits Denmark against Finland in Copenhagen in Group B. And the final game of the day in that same group will be between Belgium and Russia in St. Petersburg.
Here’s what Henderson had to say about his award…
“My family and I feel greatly humbled to be recognised in this way, more so given the reason for it. There are many privileges that come from playing professional football, but having a platform to promote a charitable cause such as Players Together and NHS Charities Together is as big a privilege as any.
“It’s important for me to state that although the honour has been issued to me personally, the credit must be shared to a far larger group of people and I accept this in the knowledge I was part of something special, rather than the reason for it. The other Premier League captains were the catalyst and the rest of the players, including my own teammates at Liverpool, were a driving force behind the scenes.
“Huge numbers of football fans, from across the country, also displayed great generosity in donating. But the true heroes are the NHS staff; they put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us.
“Therefore I dedicate this to all the nurses, doctors, carers, porters, admin workers, cleaners, security personnel and every single individual who devotes their career and their lives to making the NHS the part of British life we are rightly most proud of as a nation.”
Sterling and Henderson made MBEs
England pair Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have been made MBE’s in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Henderson has been recognised for services to charity and football after his work in driving the #PlayersTogether initiative to support the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sterling, meanwhile, is honoured for his work in leading the fight against racial inequality in football.
Pogba hoping Kante partnership fires France to glory
Paul Pogba has been dicussing the fact that France are unbeaten when he and N’Golo Kante start together in midfield.
“I hope that this invincibility will continue. It is a pleasure to be by his side: it is an honour for me to play with such a player.”
Report: Turkey 0-3 Italy
Italy kicked off the European Championship with a convincing 3-0 victory over Turkey in Group A at the Olympic Stadium on Friday with Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne on target.
Roberto Mancini’s side had been frustrated by Turkey’s defensive approach in the first half but broke through in the 53rd minute when a hard-hit cross from Domenico Berardi flew in off Turkey defender Merih Demiral for an own goal.
The Azzurri, now unbeaten in 28 matches, doubled their lead in the 66th when Leonardo Spinazzola’s drive was parried by Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir but Immobile reacted well to slot home the loose ball.
Insigne made it 3-0 in the 79th minute with a confident, curling finish after some sloppy defending from the disappointing Turks.
Turkey vs Italy team news
The first starting lineups of the tournament are in…
Turkey XI: Cakir, Celik, Demiral, Soyuncu, Meras, Yokuslu, Karaman, Tufan, Yazici, Calhanoglu, Burak Yilmaz
Italy XI: Donnarumma, Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola, Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli, Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
You can follow all the action in Rome with our live blog here.
Courtois on Russia clash
There are no concerns in the Belgium camp about a COVID-19 outbreak in the Russia team, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said.
Andrei Mostovoy tested positive and was replaced in the squad by defender Roman Yevgenyev on Friday in a blow to the Russians.
They follow the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden on the list of countries who have been hit by COVID-19 cases before the tournament kicks off later on Friday.
“It is not something that frightens us. It is something that has happened a lot over the last season in many leagues,” he said.
“We are kind of used to that. It is unfortunate for them but I think we are protected and I don’t think we have a problem with that.”
Turkey vs Italy team news
Turkey will be without the injured Cenk Tosun, familiar to Premier League fans, who was top scorer during qualifying.
Leicester loanee Cengiz Under is pushing for a start, though Lille’s Yilmaz will lead the line aged 35.
Italy may name the team lineup with beat Czech Republic in a friendly last week.
Domenico Berardi made in four goals in as many games for the Azzurri so should start on the right wing, alongside Manuel Locatelli and Jorginho.
Marco Verratti is still out with a knee injury.