Turkey's hardest group game in EURO 2020 to be against Italy: Manager
Turkey set to face Italy in Rome on June 11, opening match of football tournament
Turkey's opening EURO 2020 clash in Rome against Italy will be its hardest group match, according to Senol Gunes, manager of the Turkish National Football Team.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Friday, the 68-year-old head coach said they want to start the tournament strong.
"All three matches in the group are difficult for us, but the hardest is the first one. Among the three teams, I put Italy at a higher level."
Gunes mentioned how Italy is a regular competitor in the major tournaments.
"Being successful with good play against Italy will make a great contribution to us. A good result, win or draw, will give us an advantage, but a defeat wouldn’t be the end of everything," he explained.
"Even if we beat Italy, we’re not guaranteed to qualify, so the upcoming matches against Wales and Switzerland are also important. Our goal is moving to the next phase, to play good football, and never give up on the principles of fair play."
Gunes said three rival nations are currently ahead of Turkey in FIFA world rankings.
"All three of our rivals are strong teams. They’re all in better places than us on the FIFA world ranking. We’re in 29th place, but we know that we can compete with them, better them, and give anything to succeed. So we’re getting ready. "
Turkey on June 11 will face Italy in the opening match of EURO 2020.
The team will then fly to Azerbaijan's capital Baku to play their next two Group A games at the Baku Olympic Stadium against Wales and Switzerland, on June 16 and 20, respectively.
*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.