EURO 2020 - Opponents in Profile
International
1 December 2019

EURO 2020 - Opponents in Profile

Cymru were matched with Italy, Turkey and Switzerland in Group A on Saturday evening as the draw for UEFA EURO 2020 took place in Bucharest. 

Ryan Giggs' side will start the tournament against Switzerland in Baku on 13 June, and return to the same venue on 17 June to take on Turkey.

The final match will then take place against Italy in Rome on 21 June.

The match between Italy and Turkey in Rome will open the tournament on 12 June. 

“Happy, but obviously it's tough group,” said Giggs following the draw. “But all the groups are tough. We have to travel back to Baku, but we've got good memories having got a positive result there a couple of weeks ago.

"We have the first two games in Baku, so we now have the potential to base ourselves there. It won't be easy. Italy won 10 games in their group, they're coming back and they've got a very good manager with very talented players. I think ourselves, Switzerland and Turkey will be fighting for second place.”

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ITALY

The Azzurri won the European Championships in 1968, and the four-time world champions are the top seeds and favourites to win the group. However, they were eliminated from EURO 2016 at the quarter-final stage, and surprisingly failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals. Now under the leadership of Roberto Mancini, the side maintained a perfect record in qualifying, winning all 10 games in their group. 

  • Manager: Roberto Mancini

The 55-year old made his name as a striker with Italian outfit Sampdoria, spending 15 seasons at the club during the 1980's and 90's, and made 36 appearances for the national team. Began his managerial career at Fiorentina in 2001, and has since managed clubs in Italy, England, Turkey and Russia. Won the Premier League and FA Cup during his time as manager of Manchester City 

  • Captain: Georgio Chiellini

The Juventus defender has made over 100 appearances for Italy since his debut in 2004. The 35-year old has won eight Serie A titles during his time in Turin, and is one of the most respected players in the European game. Remained at Juventus following their relegation to Serie B in 2006 and played a key role in their return to the top-flight the following season. 

  • One to Watch: Federico Chiesa

The exciting 22-year old is following in the footsteps of his father, Enrico, who made headlines with his performances for Parma and Italy during the 1990's. Currently playing for Fiorentina, his strength, skill and finishing ability has made him one of the hottest prospects in the Italian game, and he will be keen to showcase his talent on the international stage next summer.

  • Previous meetings: Cymru v Italy

The last meeting between the two nations took place in Milan back in September 2003 when a hat-trick from Filippo Inzaghi inspired the home side to a 4-0 victory. Of the previous nine meetings, Cymru have claimed two wins compared to Italy's seven. The first win for Cymru came courtesy of an Ian Rush goal in November 1988 when the two sides met in a friendly in Brescia. The only other victory famously occurred in October 2002 in Cardiff, when Simon Davies and Craig Bellamy scored in a 2-1 win.

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TURKEY

The best performance by Turkey in the European Championships was back in 2008 when the side reached the semi-finals. However, they failed to qualify in 2012, and were eliminated at the group stage at EURO 2016. The side qualified as runners-up behind world champions France in Group H, claiming a famous 2-0 win over Les Bleus back in June, and holding them to a 1-1 draw in Paris in October.

  • Manager: Şenol Güneş

A former goalkeeper for Trabzonspor and the Turkish national team, Güneş took charge of his country for a second time in June this year, having previously managed Turkey between 2000 and 2004. The 67-year old veteran coach has been in the dugout for over 30 years, managing in South Korea as well as in his native country.

  • Captain: Emre Belözoğlu

The veteran midfielder has played over 100 games for Turkey. Now 39-years old, Belözoğlu has played for clubs in Italy, Spain, England and Turkey during his career, and currently represents Fenerbahçe, having joined the club for a third spell earlier this year. Has scored nine goals for Turkey since making his senior international debut against Norway in 2000.

  • One to Watch: Cengiz Ünder

The 22-year old Roma midfielder became the youngest Turkish player ever to score in the UEFA Champions League with his goal against Shakhtar Donetsk in February 2018. Ünder has already scored six goals for his country in 19 appearances, the most recent coming in the 2-0 win over France in June. 

  • Previous meetings: Cymru v Turkey

There have been six previous meetings, with Cymru edging the statistical record with three wins compared with Turkey's two. The only draw between the teams occurred in December 1996 when they played out a 0-0 draw in Cardiff. However, the two sides shared an incredible 10 goals the last time they met, as Bobby Gould's Cymru suffered a 6-4 defeat in Istanbul in August 1997.

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SWITZERLAND

This will be Switzerland's fifth appearance at the European Championships, qualifying for the first time in 1996. The side achieved their best finish in the competition during EURO 2016 when they reached the round of 16, having suffered elimination at the group stages in their previous three final appearances. Qualified for EURO 2020 as Group D winners ahead of Denmark. 

  • Manager: Vladimir Petković

Appointed manager of the Swiss national team in 2014 having previously managed Italian side Lazio. As a player, Petković won the Yugoslav league title in 1984/85 as a midfielder for Sarajevo, and won the Coppa Italia as a manager with Lazio in 2012/13. Guided Switzerland to the finals of EURO 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

  • Captain: Stephan Lichtsteiner

A versatile figure in midfield and defence, Lichtsteiner joined Bundesliga outfit Augsburg from Arsenal during the summer. The 35-year old spent the majority of his club career in Italy where he represented Lazio and Juventus over a 10-year period. Made his international debut back in 2006 and has made over 100 appearances for his country, scoring eight goals during that time.

  • One to Watch: Haris Seferović

An important figure in the squad, the 27-year old striker has scored 18 goals for his country in 64 appearances. Seferović currently plays his club football in Portugal with Benfica, and has also played in Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Germany. Scored his only international hat-trick in the 5-2 victory over Belgium in November 2018.

  • Previous meetings: Cymru v Switzerland 

Switzerland have won five of the seven previous meetings between the two nations, but it was Cymru who registered victory the last time they met in October 2011, when goals from Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale were enough to claim a 2-0 win in Swansea. The only other victory for Cymru came back in May 1951 in Wrexham when two goals from Trevor Ford earned a 3-2 win.

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VENUES

  • Baku, Azerbaijan

Cymru will play their opening two games against Switzerland and Turkey at the 69,000 capacity Olympic Stadium in Baku. Opened in 2015, the stadium will host three Group A games in total, as well as one of the quarter-final fixtures. 

  • Rome, Italy

The Stadio Olimpico will host Italy's match against Cymru to complete the Group A action. Home to Lazio and Roma, the 68,000 capacity stadium is an iconic venue in the European game, and will also host one quarter-final match. 

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