Euro 2020: Group A Preview (Italy leads a balanced group)

Euro 2020: Group A Preview (Italy leads a balanced group)

Euro 2020

Euro 2020: Group A Preview (Italy leads a balanced group)

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The Euro 2020 tournament kicks off on Friday with Group A, and while Italy is the group’s clearcut favorite, the group’s makeup should provide plenty of fireworks.

Robert Mancini’s men enter the field as a sleeper title contender, with a strong defense and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma anchoring the attack.

Switzerland is a good bet to secure the second spot in the knockout rounds, but both Wales and Turkey have the talent to score an upset or two.

Here is a closer look at all four teams in Group A:

GROUP A

Schedule (Times Eastern)

June 11- Turkey vs. Italy (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 3 p.m.

June 12- Wales vs. Switzerland  (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 9 a.m.

June 16Turkey vs. Wales (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 12 p.m.

June 16- Italy vs. Switzerland (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 3 p.m.

June 20 – Italy vs. Wales (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 12 p.m.

June 20 – Switzerland vs. Turkey (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 12 p.m.


ITALY


HEAD COACH

Roberto Mancini

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georgio Chiellini, Ciro Immobile, Jorginho.

NAME TO LEARN

Federico Chiesa. The Fiorentina loanee excelled in a loan spell with Juventus this season, racking up 15 goals and 11 assists across all competitions for the Old Lady. The 23-year-old is clever and versatile in midfield and already has 25 caps under his belt with Italy. He will hope to translate those club numbers over to the international stage this summer.

ROSTER

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)

OUTLOOK

Italy will be the favorites to win Group A, possessing a solid group of veterans and exciting young players. Georgio Chiellini, Ciro Immobile, and Marco Verratti are the veterans of the bunch and all have key roles at their respective positions. Offensively, Italy will need all of its players to be ready to go to avoid a slow start.


SWITZERLAND


HEAD COACH

Vladimir Petkovic

PLAYERS TO WATCH– Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Breel Embolo, Granit Xhaka.

NAME TO LEARN

Haris Seferovic is coming off scoring 26 goals in all competitions for Benfica and should lead the line for the Swiss. The 6-foot-2 striker is a force up top and should make the most of service produced by Shaqiri and Embolo.

ROSTER

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)

OUTLOOK

Switzerland will push Italy for the top spot in Group A, which could come down to their face-off on Matchday 2. Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka are proven Premier League players who will be the leaders of the bunch in midfield. Haris Seferovic will be expected to be a menace in the final third after a strong club season with Benfica. Switzerland has a top goalkeeper in Yann Sommer, but will hope its backline is strong together to give them a chance at keeping others off the scoreboard.


TURKEY


HEAD COACH

Senol Gunes

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Burak Yilmaz, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Yusuf Yazıcı, Merih Demiral.

NAME TO LEARN

Zeki Celik is fresh off a Ligue 1 title-winning season with Lille and the Turkish right back is on the radar of multiple English Premier League clubs. He will be key to the Turkish defense dealing with some of the dangerous wingers in Group A.

ROSTER

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)

OUTLOOK

Turkey will look to shock the group favorites and show they belong with the best teams in Europe. Led by veterans Yilmaz, Calhanoglu, and Soyuncu, the Turks will look to be aggressive against Italy and Switzerland in hopes of pulling a few upsets. Overall, Turkey possesses an underrated squad that will be excited for the opportunity.


WALES


HEAD COACH

Robert Page

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Daniel James, Ben Davies.

NAME TO LEARN

Joe Rodon had a challenge year at Tottenham, dealing with injuries and stretches on the bench, but the 23-year-old centerback should be key to Wales’ defensive setup.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Adam Davies (Stoke City), Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City)

Defenders: Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Joe Rodon (Tottenham), Neco Williams (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Stoke City), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City), Daniel James (Manchester United), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Matthew Smith (Manchester City), Jonny Williams (Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Liverpool)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United)

OUTLOOK

Wales has dipped since its last involvement in the European Championship, but overall still has a strong group of players to choose from. Led by Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, the Welsh will hope their main man can contribute goals and assists in a tough group. Outside of Bale and midfielder Aaron Ramsey, there aren’t a ton of stars to choose from, but Wales is a group that works hard for one another.

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