Breaking news: Italy opens Euro 2020 with 3-0 win over Turkey
The latest news on the European Football Championship:
A flurry of goals in the second half saw Italy win 3-0 over Turkey in the opening game of the European Championship.
Ciro Immobile unleashed a rebound at close range and Lorenzo Insigne added another after a poor clearance. Both came after an own goal from Turkish defender Merih Demiral put Italy ahead.
The Italians dominated from the start but were pushed back in the first half by a superb save from Turkish goalkeeper Uğurcan Çakır and a decision by the referee not to award a penalty for an apparent hand.
The tournament started a year late due to the coronavirus pandemic and is still called Euro 2020.
The Stadio Olimpico was only 25% full due to the coronavirus measures and fans sat in small groups, safely away from each other. The crowd of around 16,000 was still the largest gathering in Italy for a year and a half.
Wales and Switzerland play another Group A match on Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Spain defender Diego Llorente has returned to the European Championship national team after being cleared of what officials consider a false positive test result for COVID-19.
The Leeds player tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday and has been isolated from the rest of the squad. But four consecutive tests since then have all come back negative.
Spain is still without captain Sergio Busquets. He tested positive for the virus on Sunday and has been placed in isolation for at least 10 days. The team say he is feeling good and are hopeful the Barcelona midfielder can resume play during the tournament.
The whole team received vaccines before Llorente returned.
The opening match of the European Championship delayed by the coronavirus has started.
Italy and Turkey play their Group A match at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
There are around 16,000 fans in the stadium. Attendance at most matches of the 24-team tournament in 11 cities across the continent has been curtailed due to restrictions linked to the pandemic.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli delivered a powerful performance of Giacomo Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma” at the opening ceremony of the European Championship.
Bocelli sang as fireworks went off in the background and a dancer strapped to large helium balloons floated above the field.
The performance was followed by a virtual performance from the stars of U2 Bono and The Edge with DJ Martin Garrix.
The Stadio Olimpico is almost at its maximum capacity of 16,000 seats allowed for the opening match of the European Championship.
Most of the Turkish supporters are seated at the north end of the stadium, where Lazio supporters usually meet. Italian supporters are mainly found in the southern end, where Roma supporters usually sit.
There are also fans of both teams mixed all over the stadium.
Finland striker Teemu Pukki has said his recent ankle injury shouldn’t prevent him from playing the full game against Denmark on Saturday at the European Championship.
The condition of the Norwich striker’s right ankle has been a national concern after he injured his ligaments in early May and missed the end of the season in England. He played less than 30 minutes as a substitute in Finland’s last warm-up game. The Finns lost to Estonia 1-0.
But he seemed optimistic ahead of the country’s major tournament debut in Group B in Copenhagen.
Pukki says he trained normally last week “and I had no problem with the ankle.”
Finland’s hopes at the tournament lie largely on Pukki. He scored 10 goals in 10 qualifying games.
Fans start to enter the Stadio Olimpico for the European Championship opening match between Turkey and Italy.
There seemed to be almost as many Turkish fans as there were Italian fans a few hours before kick-off.
Fans entering the stadium are required to bring documents proving that they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or tested negative within 48 hours before the match or that they have already had the disease.
Kevin De Bruyne did not travel to Saint Petersburg with the Belgian squad for Saturday’s European Championship game against Russia.
The Manchester City playmaker only joined the squad on Monday after undergoing minor surgery to his fractured nose and orbit he suffered in the Champions League final against Chelsea on May 29.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said De Bruyne has yet to train with the squad and is still on an individual program to “bring him back to really being able to move freely”.
Martinez says he expects De Bruyne to rejoin full training with the squad when the Belgian players return to Tubize training camp after the group game against Russia.
Belgium’s second game is against Denmark in Copenhagen on Thursday.
Italy does not allow non-essential travel from Turkey, but fans from the country’s diaspora in Europe have descended on Rome for the opening game of the European Championship.
Tukey will face Italy at Stadio Olimpico in Euro 2020 Group A.
Metin Karagulle was sailing towards the Colosseum with a group of fans from Turkey on electric scooters.
He says “we’ve come all the way here together from Switzerland and we hope fair play wins.”
Tayip Abanoz traveled to Rome from Stuttgart, Germany.
Abanoz says it will be “something really important for all Turks who come here to Rome to watch the game”.
Turkish fans will be able to travel to Azerbaijan for the team’s other group matches. The Turks will face Wales and Switzerland in Baku and fans with tickets will be able to attend if they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The Scottish players will kneel down at the European Championship ahead of the England game in London, but will move ahead of Glasgow’s matches against the Czech Republic and Croatia.
The England team have been making the anti-racist gesture since last year.
Scotland captain Andy Roberton said that “we have collectively decided to take the knee as a team again for the game against England at Wembley Stadium”.
The match will be played on June 18.
The gesture was booed by some of the English supporters, but the team will continue to kneel down at Euro 2020. England’s first game of the tournament will take place on Sunday against Croatia.
The Spanish team for the European Championship have been vaccinated against the coronavirus after two players had to be isolated following positive tests for COVID-19.
The national team said medics from the Spanish armed forces administered the shots at the team’s training center near Madrid.
Spain face Sweden in Sevilla on Monday in their first Euro 2020 game. Preparations for the tournament were cut short this week after captain Sergio Busquets and defender Diego Llorente both tested positive.
Llorente’s subsequent tests came back negative, so his initial positive result may be wrong. The team say he may be able to return soon.
Busquets tested positive on Sunday and is undergoing minimum 10-day isolation. But the team says he is feeling good and that they hope he will be back during the tournament.
Russian winger Andrey Mostovoy has become the first player to be excluded from a squad at this year’s European Championship due to the coronavirus.
The team said on Twitter that “in connection with an unfavorable PCR test result” for the Mostovoy virus has been replaced by defender Roman Evgeniev.
The announcement comes a day before Russia faces Belgium in St. Petersburg in their Euro 2020 opener.
Mostovoy made his debut for Russia last year and has played eight of the team’s last 11 games. He mostly played as a substitute. Evgeniev’s only appearance for his country was a 5-0 loss to Serbia last year.
Sweden and Spain have both reported positive coronavirus test results but have yet to choose to replace affected players.
The biggest football tournament of the coronavirus era is about to begin.
The first match of the European Championship kicks off at 19:00 GMT in Rome when Italy faces Turkey in Group A. And there will be around 16,000 fans in the stadium.
Euro 2020 was scheduled to start last year on June 12. The tournament has been postponed for almost exactly a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The final is now set for July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Much of the postponed tournament schedule remains the same as last year, but there have been some changes to the venues. All 51 matches will be played in 11 cities across the continent. Rome and London will be joined by Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Munich, Seville and Saint Petersburg.