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The countdown is finally over and after a five year wait, the Euros has returned with the curtain raiser being played in Rome on Friday night.
The Azzurri come into this with real hope and momentum as they’re currently on a 27-game unbeaten streak, winning eight on the bounce and, even more impressive, have kept clean sheets in all eight of those games.
This Turkish side are certainly not one to roll over though, and going back over their last 27 matches, they’ve only suffered defeat on three occasions, going W2-D3 against France (twice), Germany, Croatia, and Netherlands in that time so this is certainly not a foregone conclusion.
While Italy are on an exceptional run, their European qualifying group didn’t provide much of a test with not a single nation currently in the top-50 in the world featuring in Group J, and although 10 wins from 10 is an impressive return, it certainly wasn’t unexpected.
Indeed, up against sides currently ranked between 10th and 30th in the world, Italy are still unbeaten, though they’re a more measured W4-D5 since the beginning of 2018.
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Italy To Win And Under 3.5 Goals
Italy have only won the group in one of their last five major tournaments, coming in their last appearance at the 2016 Euros, while they’ve gone W5-D3-L1 in their major tournament opening fixtures this century, winning each of their last two against Belgium and England.
They also won 2-1 the last time they face Turkey in the opening match of a tournament back at Euro 2000, though that should have little bearing here.
What is notable is that all nine of those opening round fixtures saw under 3.5 goals land, with six seeing under 2.5 come in, and with Italy’s solid defence we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar outcome play out though at a short price, it’s worth coupling the goals market with a win market.
Turkey have featured in just four major tournaments this century, and only one since 2008. In those tournaments (three Euros, one World Cup), they’ve lost all four of their opening matches, with all four seeing under 3.5 goals and combining that with recent form, it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see a narrow, low scoring Italy win here to get the competition going.
Turkey have never beaten Italy in any of their 10 meetings (D3-L7), though the most recent of those came in 2006 with completely different squads and managers.
Nevertheless, Italy are still the stronger footballing nation and it’s worth getting behind them on the 1x2 market to couple with the goals.
What’s more, each of Italy’s last five competitive wins have finished either 1-0 or 2-0, while each of the last five major tournament opening fixture wins have finished 2-0 or 2-1, while each of Turkey’s last six defeats have finished by one of those three scorelines, as well as their four major tournament opening matches this century.