Italian sports journalists believe Turkey will be Italy's toughest rival in the EURO 2020 group stage.
They shared their thoughts with Anadolu Agency at the national team’s training center in Coverciano, Florence on Thursday. Turkey and Italy will face off in Group A on Friday.
Alessandro Bocci, a reporter at Corriere della Sera newspaper, said Italy have shown good performance in the recent past, remaining unbeaten in last 27 games.
"But the European Championship is another story, and Turkey have a strong squad. For me, Turkey are Italy's main rival in this group," he said.
He said Turkey are in good form. "Turkey has shown good performance since March and have strong players. I like [Hakan] Calhanoglu very much and [Merih] Demiral. So, it's going to be a tough game and there's a lot of uncertainty," he said.
Asked whether Italy manager Roberto Mancini's time with Galatasaray in Turkey in the past would be an advantage for him, Bocci said: "Yes, maybe it's a small advantage. But Mancini went to Russia for three years after Turkey."
Andrea Elefante from La Gazzetta dello Sport, a newspaper dedicated to sports, said Italy’s game against Turkey will be "decisive" for his nation in group stage.
According to him, Turkish footballers playing in Italy know Italian football, players and their mentality – an advantage for Turkey.
Francesco Rapici, a reporter from Radio Rai, said tomorrow's game will be interesting. "Turkey have the youngest squad in the European Championship. The average age is quite low, but performance before the championship extremely satisfactory."
"Maybe Italy’s players have better techniques, but Turkish players have come with strength, character and determination."
*Writing by Muhammed Enes Calli in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.