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Euro 2020 is FINALLY here and England are favourites – here’s your ultimate guide to the summer spectacular

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FOOTBALL has come home… at last!

The Euros are here, and with eight games at Wembley and three at Scotland’s Hampden Park, fans are really being treated in the UK.

PA

Can England captain Harry Kane lead the Three Lions to major tournament success?[/caption]

England last hosted a major tournament 25 years ago for Euro 1996 – one current boss Gareth Southgate won’t need reminding about.

The gaffer missed the crucial penalty in the semi-final against Germany as the Three Lions fell agonisingly short.

Now Southgate is hoping to lead his youthful and exuberant squad to glory under the Wembley arch.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the tournament for a year – but now there’s no stopping the Beautiful Game taking centre stage.

Here, SunSport takes a look at the big players at the festival of football that kicks off tonight at the Stadio Olympico in Rome with Turkey against Italy.

ENGLAND and Southgate can step up

By SunSport’s Chief Football Writer Dave Kidd

When Southgate was appointed England boss in 2016 – following Euros humiliation by Iceland and the embarrassment of Sam Allardyce’s butterfly reign – many regarded him as a soft touch and an FA yes man.

They mistook Southgate’s decency and good manners for a lack of leadership qualities.

Those myths were dispelled by England’s march to the World Cup semi-finals and a series of tough, unpopular decisions on the way.

He enjoys that unique pressure and, despite the horrible outcome, the fact that Southgate took England’s sixth penalty 25 years ago is testament to his willingness to accept responsibility.

However England fare at this tournament, Southgate will not dodge responsibility.

SunSport has signed up the legendary Jose Mourinho for this summer’s competition. He gives his verdict on England and the rest…

Jose on England: “It has to be now, because it was in 1966. It wasn’t in Euro 96, because of a penalty shootout which is something very unpredictable.

“They have to push with everything this time.”

England’s famous fan: Prince William

Getty

England fans will be getting their singing voices sharpened up[/caption]

Legendary football manager Jose Mourinho is the expert on hand for SunSport this summer

ROUTE TO THE FINAL

It might actually be BETTER if England finish second in Group D.

That way they would likely play Sweden in the round of 16. If they win the group they could be paired against France, Germany or Portugal.

Come through that potential Sweden tie, there’s no avoiding one of France, Germany or Portugal in the quarter-finals though.

If Southgate guides his troops to the semi-finals, potential opposition could be Italy or Belgium.

Taking in all the big guns, it then could be a final showdown against Luis Enrique’s Spain in the final.

We can but dream!

BETTING SPECIAL – GET ENGLAND TO WIN EURO 2020 AND HARRY KANE TO BE TOP SCORER AT 18/1

SCOTLAND – Steve and the boogie men

By Graeme Bryce

Ally McCoist once claimed he felt sorry for Brazil and Germany fans at major tournaments.

“Where is the excitement and drama, travelling halfway across the planet when you know the only game you might lose is at the final?

“Where’s the fun in that? Give me Scotland any day – we don’t have a bloody clue what is going to happen from one minute to the next.”

If Ally is right and it is better to travel in hope rather than expectation, then Scotland fans can look forward to the usual rollercoaster of emotions this summer.

They secured their spot at this year’s tournament with a nail-biting penalty shootout win against Serbia. That was soon followed by boss Steve Clarke’s squad belting out ‘Yes Sir, I can Boogie’ in Belgrade, before doing the conga.

As McCoist said, Scotland simply don’t do dull.

Jose Mourinho’s verdict: “They are not candidates for the title, not even the semi-finals. But it is going to be very hard to beat them.”

Famous Scotland fan: Andy Murray

WALES – New Page and chapter

By Martin Blackburn

Wales will play at a major tournament for only the second time since 1958 this summer.

But they will have to do it without the man that led them there

Ryan Giggs was temporarily stood down from his role as Dragons head coach when he was arrested following a domestic incident back in November.

Rob Page, a member of Giggs’ backroom staff is the man charged to lead Wales this summer.

Skipper Gareth Bale and Juventus star Aaron Ramsey are likely to be key, with all they achieved for both club and country over the years.

A place in the knockout stages is the target and, if everything clicks, it is not beyond them.

Jose Mourinho’s verdict: “With the small group of players they are doing amazingly well, so lots of respect.

“But it will be hard for them even to qualify for the next phase.”

Famous Wales fan: Tom Jones

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ITALY – Is Roberto the Man?

By Phil Cadden

Roberto Mancini delivered Manchester City’s first league title in 44 years back in 2012 – and now he wants to complete the resurrection of the Italian national team.

Mancini took charge in May 2018, six months after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

The 56-year-old transformed Italy’s fortunes, winning all ten of their Euros 2020 qualification games, with only Belgium matching that feat.

The Azzurri will be the favourites to reach the knockout stage from Group A, consisting of Wales, Turkey and Switzerland.

Once there, Mancini’s Italy could even be a shrewd bet to win the Euros.

Jose Mourinho’s verdict: “Italy have talented players, but they have a very good tactical knowledge. They’re able to play in different ways.

“I think they will be always in in the final four.”

Getty

Italy are being tipped to have a strong tournament[/caption]

BELGIUM – Golden chance for Kev and co

By Tom Barclay

This tournament is viewed by many in Belgium as a last chance of success for their golden generations.

Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku may be in their prime but the majority of Roberto Martinez’s squad are past their peak.

And Eden Hazard‘s fitness if the hot topic going into this tournament.

Belgium do not consider themselves favourites but a semi-final is the minimum expectation.

Jose Mourinho’s verdict: “I think it’s now or never for them because lots of the players are reaching this perfect age to make it.

“They can do it.”

HOLLAND – Time to turn it around

By Jordan Davies

After failing to qualify for the last two major tournaments, the Oranje are looking to win a Euros game for the first time since 2008.

It is their longest absence from international finals since the 1980s, when they returned to lift the 1988 Euros.

But under boss Frank De Boer, who took over from Ronald Koeman back in September, that feat appears unlikely this time around.

Virgil van Dijk is a huge loss, with the Liverpool defender ruling himself out with injury.

Given their fall from grace – not winning a game at Euro 2012 – many fans would settle for making the knockouts.

Jose Mourinho verdict: “Holland should get out of the group but to reach semi-finals or the final? I don’t see that.”

Getty

Holland fans will be desperate for their side to recover past glories[/caption]

SPAIN – Write them off at your peril

By Oscar Paul

Unfancied and overlooked, this could be the year for the great Spanish revival.

While going in as fifth-favourites, La Roja will fear no-one and have been boosted by defender Aymeric Laporte‘s late switch of allegiance from France.

It is not quite Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets, but the midfield trio of Koke, Rodri and Pedri offers guile, protection and the passing needed to get Luis Enrique’s side humming.

They are likely to adopt a 4-3-3, with Ferran Torres a constant danger on the right.

On the left, Mikel Oyarzabal is coming off a stellar season with Real Sociedad, while Chelsea flop Alavaro Morata is set to be the focal point.

Jose Mourinho verdict: “Luis [Enrique] was my player when I was in Barcelona a long time ago. He has great leadership qualities. He will have the team around him altogether.

“They can beat anyone but I don’t see them playing in the final.”

Getty

Jose Mourinho thinks Spain can go all the way to the final[/caption]

LATE TO THE PARTY

These five players have benefited from the delayed Euros

EDEN HAZARD

Since moving to Real Madrid, the Belgian star, 30, has had a torrid time with injuries – and he was touch and go to make it last summer.

But after a long season of rehab, the former Chelsea winger is creeping back to full fitness.

PHIL FODEN

This time last year the Manchester City starlet, 20, had not yet made his Three Lions debut.

Now it would be hard to imagine an England starting XI without him.

ANSU FATI

The winger, 18, is Barcelona’s youngest-ever scorer at 16 years and 304 days.

The Spanish FA soon swooped in to prise him away from his country of birth – Guinea-Bissau.

KARIM BENZEMA

After a six-year absence, Benzema will be back scaring defences for France this summer.

And at the age of 33, the Real Madrid striker is somehow in the form of his life

JAMAL MUSIALA

Born in Stuttgart but raised in London, the former England U21 forward had a tough decision to make.

It paid off – after the 18-year-old was included in Joachim Low’s Germany squad.

FRANCE – The frightening favourites

By Duncan Wright

Les Bleus are tournament favourites for a reason.

Boss Didier Deschamps can call on some of the biggest stars in world football.

With N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Adrien Rabiot in midfield, they will look to dominate possession and stop opponents getting at their defence.

Going forward they look frightening, as Antoine Griezmann’s guile provides the perfect foil for the blistering pace and finishing of Kylian Mbappe.

Real Madrid’s goal machine Karim Benzema, 33, has also been given a shock call-up for the first time since 2015.

Add Kingsley Coman, Thomas Lemar and Ousmane Dembele to the mix, and there are plenty of wild cards on offer.

Jose Mourinho’s verdict: “I cannot see any weakness. If I had to say one team to win it, I will say them – because the group of players is fantastic.

“They have to win it. If not, it is an unsuccessful Euros.”

Getty

France fans will be hoping their heroes do what the bookies think they will and win it[/caption]

GERMANY – Low’s swansong

Germany come into the Euros as an unsung threat – though outgoing boss Joachim Low could have done without being drawn in the Group of Death alongside France, Portugal and Hungary.

The dismal group-stage exit at Russia 2018 still lingers in the minds of many but this new squad is littered with the kind of talent other nations could only dream about.

Manuel Neuer is a rock in goal and any squad boasting the attacking threat of Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner is something to be wary of.

But unlike German teams of old, there is not the same confidence in the defence – that is Low’s big challenge.

Home advantage could be the key to qualification for the knockout rounds.

Jose Mourinho’s verdict: “The Germans are the Germans.. and I think this says everything.

“I think they can be out in the group phase. It can happen. But I think if they go through the group phase, they can go all the way.”

PORTUGAL – Not just a one-man team

Write Portugal off as a one-man team at your peril. The defending champs are a force to be reckoned with.

Cristiano Ronaldo will attempt to raise himself to new levels one more time – but unlike in France in 2016, there is far more to the squad managed by the wily old Fernando Santos.

Not least in the shape of brilliant Manchester City trio Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Ruben Dias.

Throw in Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota and Joao Felix and they have the creativity to unlock the best defences, so long as they do not get into the habit of relying too heavily on veteran Ronaldo.

And a rearguard partnership of the superb Dias alongside the conniving Pepe is a tough one to beat.

Jose Mourinho’s verdict: “We play France in France, Germany in Germany and Hungary in Hungary.

“So it’s an incredible situation but if we go through, we are capable of going until the end.

WHERE ARE THE FAN ZONES?

There will be fan zones in TRAFALGAR SQUARE and FOOTBALL VILLAGE IN POTTERS FIELDS PARK in London.

A select number of matches will be shown at both venues throughout the tournament.

AFP

Spanish fans will be hoping to bring some fun to the tournament in London[/caption]

Darren Fletcher – The Sun

There will be TWO fan zones in London this summer[/caption]

The Trafalgar Square venue will show ALL the games played at Wembley.

Both venues are ticketed.

If you can’t make it, SunSport will be live blogging EVERY game.

We’ll make sure you won’t miss a thing during the next month of unforgettable football.

Getty

Sweden will be dark horses for this year’s Euros[/caption]

Darren Fletcher – The Sun

England fans will be able to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s boys in Trafalgar Square[/caption]

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

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Euro 2020: Declan Rice can be new Bobby Moore and captain England and West Ham, says old boss Slaven Bilic

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DECLAN RICE is on course to follow in the footsteps of Bobby Moore, says the man who put him on the road to stardom.

Legend Moore led England to World Cup glory in 1966 and West Ham through their heyday in the same heady era.

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Declan Rice is the best-qualified player to go on and captain both West Ham and England, says ex-Hammers player and manager Slaven Bilic[/caption]

Offside

Bobby Moore is the most famous skipper in the history of West Ham and arguably England, including winning the 1966 World Cup[/caption]

Slaven Bilic handed Rice, 22, his debut while managing the Hammers in 2017 — and pushed him from defence to midfield in a tactical masterstroke.

But even Croatian Bilic is astonished at just how quickly Rice is progressing.

He said: “I don’t see a bigger or better contender to become England captain one day.

“Put it this way, he is a leader, already been skipper at a big club — and it is not a burden for him.

“He can cope with it. It is natural for him. And if he continues to improve, I would be very surprised if he does not captain the national team.

“He is unbelievable. I would be lying if I said I knew he was going to be this big so quickly. He is not stopping. The sky is the limit for him.

“Yes, he was promising and a good talent when I was at West Ham, then he trained with us and we saw how mature he was.

“Tell him just once. He wants to listen, to do what you asked.

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“We gave him a couple of minutes in the last game of the season against Burnley away.

“Then he went with us to pre-season and was one of the squad.

“We had injuries so we needed a midfielder — he started and did the job.

“Even when I left he was a holding midfielder. Ordinary on the ball.

“After a few months we all started to see him being great on the ball, playing diagonal passes.

“He was not only controlling midfield in the defensive phase of the game — but controlling the whole game.

“Every week you see something more from him.

“He is ticking all the boxes now.”

BETTING SPECIAL – GET ENGLAND TO WIN EURO 2020 AND HARRY KANE TO BE TOP SCORER AT 18/1

Bilic believes West Ham now have the power to hold on to Rice after finishing sixth and flirting with the top four.

He added: “West Ham are in a great situation.

“They have tradition and they have London.  Fans shouldn’t be worried that Rice is improving.”

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

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Turkey vs Italy FREE: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and team news for Euro 2020 opener

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AFTER a year of waiting, Euro 2020 is finally here!

Italy are taking on Turkey in the opening match, with both sides hoping to make it through to the knockout stages.

Getty – Contributor

Turkey picked up a memorable draw against France in Paris[/caption]

AFP

Italy achieved a clean sweep in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign[/caption]

The Italians made a big statement of intent in their qualifying campaign, cruising to top spot in their group with ten wins out of ten.

Turkey meanwhile came second in their group but showed they can mix it with the best by beating world champions France 2-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away.

Wales and Switzerland are the other two teams in Euro 2020 Group A.

What time does Turkey vs Italy kick off?

  • Turkey vs Italy takes place on Friday, June 11.
  • Turkey vs Italy kicks off at 8pm UK time.
  • That’s 9pm in Rome and 10pm in Ankara.

What TV channel is Turkey vs Italy on and can I live stream it?

  • Turkey vs Italy is live on BBC One in the UK.
  • To stream the game live, head to the BBC iPlayer.
  • RAI and Sky Italia are showing Euro 2020 in Italy while TRT is the Turkish broadcaster.

Can I watch Turkey vs Italy for free?

Team news

PSG midfielder Marco Verratti remains a doubt in a major blow for the Italians.

Verratti, 28 has a knee injury and has been training alone during the preparations.

Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli is expected to replace Verratti for the big Euro 2020 opener in Rome.

Get ALL of the latest Italy news and updates from Euro 2020

Italy’s Euro 2020 squad

Roberto Mancini’s final 26-man Italy squad is as follows:

  • Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK)
  • Alex Meret (GK)
  • Salvatore Sirigu (GK)
  • Francesco Acerbi
  • Alessandro Bastoni
  • Leonardo Bonucci
  • Giorgio Chiellini
  • Giovanni Di Lorenzo
  • Alessandro Florenzi
  • Leonardo Spinazzola
  • Rafael Toloi
  • Nicolo Barella
  • Bryan Cristante
  • Manuel Locatelli
  • Lorenzo Pellegrini
  • Matteo Pessina
  • Stefano Sensi
  • Jorginho
  • Emerson
  • Marco Verratti
  • Andrea Belotti
  • Federico Bernardeschi
  • Federico Chiesa
  • Ciro Immobile
  • Lorenzo Insigne
  • Giacomo Raspadori

Turkey’s Euro 2020 squad

Senol Gunes’ final 26-man Turkey squad is as follows:

  • Mert Günok (GK)
  • Uğurcan Çakır (GK)
  • Altay Bayındır (GK)
  • Kaan Ayhan
  • Çağlar Söyüncü
  • Zeki Çelik
  • Merih Demiral
  • Umut Meraş
  • Ozan Kabak
  • Mert Müldür
  • Rıdvan Yılmaz
  • Ozan Tufan
  • Hakan Çalhanoğlu
  • Okay Yokuşlu
  • Yusuf Yazıcı
  • Cengiz Ünder
  • İrfan Kahveci
  • Dorukhan Toköz
  • Abdülkadir Ömür
  • Taylan Antalyalı
  • Orkun Kökçü
  • Kerem Aktürkoğlu
  • Burak Yılmaz (c)
  • Kenan Karaman
  • Enes Ünal
  • Halil Dervişoğlu

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Paul Pogba tipped Wales to be a Euro 2020 dark horse after friendly with France, reveals Man Utd team-mate Daniel James

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PAUL POGBA has tipped Wales to once again be the dark horses at the Euros this summer.

Back in 2016, Chris Coleman led the Dragons on a fairytale journey to the semi-finals – where they were beaten by eventual winners Portugal.


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AFP

Paul Pogba has tipped Wales to be Euro dark horses again this summer[/caption]

Getty

Dragons star Dan James revealed what his Man Utd teammate told him[/caption]

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Not many people will fancy their chances of repeating that run as they kick off their campaign against Switzerland in Baku on Saturday.

But Pogba told his Manchester United team-mate Dan James that he thinks Wales can surprise a few people again.

The France star got a close up view of Robert Page’s squad in a friendly between the nations in Nice last week.

And James said: “I spoke to Paul after the game and he said ‘we’ve got a great team and we’ve got a great chance,’ which is always great to hear.

“We fully believe in ourselves. We are here for a reason – we are not just here to take part.

“We believe we can go into every game with that winning mentality.”

The two Old Trafford pals were snapped together during the game which ended in a 3-0 win for the World Cup winners.

In the picture, Pogba appears to be looking quizzically at James – who has a big grin on his face.

BETTING SPECIAL – GET ENGLAND TO WIN EURO 2020 AND HARRY KANE TO BE TOP SCORER AT 18/1

The former Swansea man said: “It’s one of those untold photos where we just had a conversation.

“I think we were both laughing but they caught him on the picture where he is not and he is just looking at me strangely.

“I will have to ask him what was going on in that picture.”

James has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot since moving to Old Trafford two years ago.

But he believes playing alongside players like Pogba has helped him develop.

He added: “I think I like that kind of added pressure. It helps me as a player. I’ve got to learn with that, I’ve got to deal with situations like that all the time.

“Playing in pressurised games always helps but I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I don’t think there’s any need to.

“You can let the game can get to you if you put too much pressure on yourself.

“It’s such a big jump. If you look at any career and the progression levels. You want to take little steps but I took that big step – it was one I could never turn down.

“Maybe I played a little bit more than I thought I would the first year. I’ve kept learning from that.

“I think there are always stages in your career – if you look at everyone – where you might take that little dip but I’d like to think my all-round game is a lot better now.

“I’ve learnt so much and have been working on most things every day, learning off players in my position and doing the best I can to be ready for tournaments like this.”

Although he was born in Humberside, his late father Kevan was Welsh and there was never any doubt who his son would play for.

Asked if there was ever an approach from the Three Lions, he said: “I can’t say there was. I was always Wales.

“I went to my first camp when I was 12 in north Wales.

“My dad took me to it so I’ve been throughout the whole system which quite a few of the boys have been, Harry [Wilson], Joe Morrell, from very young.”

He added: “For Euro 2016, I was in Marbella at the time. I watched it out there, I was on holiday.

“It was crazy really. The expectations were never to get that far. It was just brilliant to watch and we can take that into this tournament.”

Follow ALL of the latest news and updates from Euro 2020 with our live blog

How the top pundits of the two channels stack up against each other

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