Euro 2020 Daily Report: Stats point to low scoring opener

Italy manager Roberto Mancini
Roberto Mancini's Italy have won their last eight games to nil

Twelve months after it should have taken place Euro 2020 finally gets under way. Here's how the markets are looking ahead of the opening game between Turkey and Italy.

"In eight of the last 11 games to start the European Championships, under 2.5 goals has paid out. The smart money would be on
under 2.5 goals in Rome which can be backed at 1.715/7"

Expect few goals in Euro opener in Rome

In the build-up to a major tournament, the hype tends to go through the roof. And when it comes to the European Championships, the opening game often fails to deliver and live up to the hype. Turkey and Italy will hope to buck the trend when they get Euro 2020 up and running in Rome.

Historically, game one is a slow-burner as neither side wants to lose. Defeat in the opening game increases the pressure for their remaining two group games. Four of the last eight Euro openers have ended all square. In fact, those four draws have all been 1-1 scores.

In eight of the last 11 games to start the European Championships, the total goals have been under 2.5 goals

The smart money would be on under 2.5 goals in Rome which can be backed at 1.715/7 on the exchange. Before their last two friendlies which were won by a combined score of 11-0, Italy won five successive games 2-0.

Turkey's two warm-up games have been low-scoring affairs with under 2.5 goals paying out. The second of those friendlies ended in a 2-0 win over Moldova. Turkey are 35/1 to win 2-0 while the Italians are 5/1 to win by the same score.

Italy's defence looks to extend incredible run

In football, 785 minutes is a long time. That's how long Italy have gone without conceding a goal. It's an incredible run and while some of those matches have been against minnows like San Marino and Lithuania, it's a pretty good habit to have entering a major tournament.

Giorgio Chiellini - 1280.jpg

Donny van de Beek's goal for the Netherlands in a 1-1 Nations League draw last October, remains the only time Italy's defence, led superbly by Giorgio Chiellini, has been breached in their last 12 matches.

The Azzurri has always prided itself in building their teams around strong defences and Roberto Mancini will be confident his side can extend their defensive fortitude this summer.

Italy have played a total of 38 matches in the European Championships, but they have conceded just 27 goals and they have kept clean sheets in exactly half of those contests. Italy can be backed at 2.226/5 to win their Euro opener to nil which they have done in their last eight matches.

Turkey's form gives them hope against Italy

Winston Churchill once said: "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." Turkey supporters will hope their players have been given a history lesson ahead of their trip to Rome. The stats do not make pleasant reading for the Turks at major tournaments.

Turkey Stat 100621.png

This is Turkey's seventh tournament and they have lost all six of their opening games - four at the Euros and two at the World Cup. But there is a feeling that this Turkey side is better equipped to deal with the pressure of playing the opening game than before.

Unbeaten in six, Senol Gunes' side have an impressive 4-2 win over the Netherlands to draw from in their opener. It won't be easy in Rome, but if the Turks take the game to their hosts and be brave, then they might just get something from the contest.

Scoring an average 2.3 goals during their recent unbeaten run, Turkey can be backed at 1.454/9 to score over 1.5 goals in Rome. Gunes' side are a generous 7/1 to spring an early surprise and start their campaign with a win.

Andy Brassell on Italy v Turkey

European football expert Andy Brassell gives his verdict on tonight's Euro 2020 curtain raiser in Rome:

Italy are the perennial favourites that are flying under the radar to an extent, the four-time world champions whose failure to qualify for the tournament in Russia in 2018 counts against them in the eyes of some. Yet that big miss that broke Gianluigi Buffon's heart prompted a much-needed reset, and things have changed dramatically under Roberto Mancini. They last lost on 10 September 2018.

Some high-profile coaches give the impression that they are marking time until the next big club post comes up. Not Mancini. He has thrown himself into this with boundless enthusiasm and no little ingenuity, combining his trusted defence (the youngest man in the unit, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, has played over 250 first-team games for Milan) with a dreamy midfield and a mature forward line, replete with the invention of Lorenzo Insigne and the finishing of Ciro Immobile.

Yet Turkey are probably the last opposition they'd want first up in Rome. Şenol Güneş has assembled the most talented squad his nation has had since he led them to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002 during his first spell in charge.

The defence is familiar to Premier League fans with Çağlar Söyüncü and Ozan Kabak available at its heart, but there is craft in midfield via Hakan Çalhanoglu and Yusuf Yazici, and newly-crowned Ligue 1 champion Burak Yilmaz is a better all-round player than ever at 35. Add in that the influential Marco Verratti is missing for now and there's every chance for Turkey to take something from this.

Andy's Bet: Back the draw in Turkey v Italy @ 4.03/1

Deschamps diffuses French fallout

Teams that are successful in winning a major tournament are usually harmonious and singing from the same hymn sheet. But that does not appear to be the case in the French camp as manager Didier Deschamps had to answer questions about a dispute between two of his star players.

Olivier Giroud sparked the spat by criticising fellow forward Kylian Mbappe for poor service during their final friendly against Bulgaria which ended in a 3-0 win for the French. Giroud replaced Karim Benzema before half-time and managed to score twice in the final seven minutes.

Olivier Giroud is five goals behind France's all-time leading scorer Thierry Henry who scored 51 goals for Les Bleus

Deschamps successfully convinced Mbappe not to escalate the situation further by releasing a statement giving his thoughts on Giroud's comments. The fallout is the last thing Deschamps needs on the eve of the Euros and the world media will now be focusing on how the pair react around each other.

Mbappe is France's first choice forward while Giroud will have to deal with the fact that his role will be to come off the bench and try to influence games late on. He should be used to that after nine of his 17 league appearances for Chelsea this season were as a substitute.

The Paris St-Germain star, who is on course to be his country's all-time leading scorer, is expected to have a successful tournament. The 22-year-old has been boosted to 10/1 to take the Golden Boot award back to France.

Mbappe's goals could well help the favourites win their third European Championship which is priced at 9/2. England are 5/1 second favourites this summer with all three of their group games being played at Wembley.

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