If Scotland weren’t at the Euros this season I would absolutely be supporting the Azzurri this year. The kit, the National Anthem, the style, the history and the passion is captivating. They perhaps don’t have the same level of household names but it’s still a very good squad. There’s experience with the likes of Chiellini and Bonucci in the defence, Verratti in midfield, and Ciro Immobile likely to spearhead the attack.
I would say Italy will get through Group A without much hassle and would expect them to reach the Semi-finals with the squad they have assembled. They certainly have the experience and a released squad that will be typically Italian by being tough to break down and lethal on the break. Roberto Mancini, as manager, is also going into the tournament with a renewed contract and a 70% win rate; the highest of any Italian manager to last more than 20 games. I’m sure he would love to add the European Championship to his CV.
Squad (Final 26)
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Tolói (Atalanta)
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Inter), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Marco Verratti (Paris)
Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)
Turkey make their 5th appearance at the Euros this year following their 2nd place finish during the Qualifiers. And looking at the results it’s hard not to be impressed. If only for struggling in both ties against Iceland, there’s every chance Turkey could have finished top of the Group as they defeated France 2-0 in Turkey and then earned a 1-1 draw in Paris. That’s results to make their Group A opponents sit up and take notice of the squad they’re about to face.
The real blow for Turkey is the loss of Cenk Tosun (Everton) who finds himself out injured with a serious knee injury. As Turkey’s top scorer during the Qualifiers it’s really disappointing to see him miss out. However, they still have some quality attacking players such as Hakan Çalhanoğlu (AC Milan) and Burak Yilmaz (LOSC Lille) to rely upon. Given I still think Italy will top Group A, Turkey will likely find themselves proceeding beyond the group stage.
Squad (Final 26)
Goalkeepers: Altay Bayındır (Fenerbahçe), Uğurcan Çakır (Trabzonspor), Mert Günok (İstanbul Başakşehir)
Defenders: Kaan Ayhan (Sassuolo), Zeki Çelik (LOSC Lille), Merih Demiral (Juventus), Ozan Kabak (Liverpool), Umut Meraş (Le Havre), Mert Müldür (Sassuolo), Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester), Rıdvan Yılmaz (Beşiktaş)
Midfielders: Taylan Antalyalı (Galatasaray), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (AC Milan), Halil Dervişoğlu (Brentford), İrfan Can Kahveci (Fenerbahçe), Orkun Kökçü (Feyenoord), Abdülkadir Ömür (Trabzonspor), Dorukhan Toköz (Beşiktaş), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahçe), Okay Yokuşlu (West Brom)
Forwards: M. Kerem Aktürkoğlu (Galatasaray), Kenan Karaman (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Enes Ünal (Getafe), Cengiz Ünder (Leicester), Yusuf Yazıcı (LOSC Lille), Burak Yılmaz (LOSC Lille)
I admit I had forgotten that Wales had qualified for Euro 2020 (sorry). It’s been that long since the Qualifiers it passed me by that Wales, too, finished runners-up in Group E behind Croatia. But I shouldn’t be too surprised Wales have qualified with one of the world’s greatest gol…footballers in the world in the squad. Bale may not have the same standing as he did at club football but you can’t deny he shows up big time for the National Team.
Looking at the potential Wales squad you forget that they do have some really interesting players in there. Joe Allen (Stoke City) has been around the block, Aaron Ramsey (Juventus) can be class on his day, and I adore Jonny Williams (Cardiff City) from his time at Charlton. Daniel James (Manchester United) could also be in line to make a Finals appearance for the first time and it’ll be good to see how he and Bale link up.
Squad (Final 26)
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City)
Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham), Joe Rodon (Tottenham), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Neco Williams (Liverpool), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town)
Midfielders: Joe Allen (Stoke City), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Matthew Smith (Manchester City), Jonny Williams (Cardiff City), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Harry Wilson (Liverpool)
Forwards: Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United), Daniel James (Manchester United)
And finally in Group A we have Switzerland. Is it rude to say not a huge amount of players in the Swiss squad announced that leap of the page? Possibly. I know a fair amount about Fabian Schär (Newcastle United) as I do follow a lot of Newcastle games for my sins and he’s a good defender. Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool) and Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) are also well-seen faces on Match of the Day. Well, unless you’re an Arsenal fan watching Xhaka through your fingers…
Other than the Premier League contingent I’m not too sure. Comparing the squad to Italy and Turkey, I think Switzerland could find those ties quite tough. However, I do wonder if they will fancy a shot at Wales. Granted I say all this in the full knowledge they waltzed through the Qualifiers and suffered only a narrow loss away to Denmark. You don’t do that with a half-baked team to hand. Could Switzerland actually be the 2020 version of Greece?!
Squad (Final 26)
Goalkeepers: Yvon Mvogo (PSV), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Yann Sommer (Mönchengladbach)
Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Dortmund), Loris Benito (Bordeaux), Eray Cömert (Basel), Nico Elvedi (Mönchengladbach), Jordan Lotomba (Nice), Kevin Mbabu (Wolfsburg), Becir Omeragic (Zürich), Ricardo Rodríguez (Torino), Fabian Schär (Newcastle United), Silvan Widmer (Basel)
Midfielders: Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool), Djibril Sow (Frankfurt), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Mönchengladbach), Steven Zuber (Frankfurt)
Forwards: Breel Embolo (Mönchengladbach), Mario Gavranović (Dinamo Zagreb), Admir Mehmedi (Wolfsburg), Haris Seferović (Benfica)
For me, Italy will see of a tough Turkey opponent in the opening fixture of the tournament in Rome while Wales v Switzerland in Baku will be lowest watched game of the tournament the following afternoon – finishing 1-1. Italy will then batter a few by Switzerland in Game 2; again in Rome. Game 2 will also see Turkey get their first 3 points of the tournament by defeating Wales in Baku.
When we get to Game 3, Italy will be qualified without any stress and will field a rotated squad against Wales; oddly enough in Rome. Turkey, on 3 points will need a result against Switzerland in Baku who won’t have a clue what time it is given they’ll be travelling (presumably) from Switzerland, to Baku, to Rome, then back to Baku for the final game. That’s madness! Good job the Swiss make reliable watches I guess. By Sunday 20th June, Italy will have 3 wins from 3 and finish top. Turkey will finish 2nd on 6 points while Wales and Switzerland will bow out gracefully on 1 point each.