Euro Daily: June 16, 2021
Day 5 of the European Championships will see a trio of fixtures played out, as the likes of Russia and Turkey aim to get back on track.
Below, check out five things you need to know about Wednesday’s action.
1) History on Russia’s side
Today’s opening Euro 2020 fixture will see Russia play host to surprise package Finland at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.
The Russians of course endured a difficult opening to the tournament, when they were comprehensively put to the sword by three goals to nil by heavyweights Belgium. Upcoming opponents Finland, on the other hand, sprung one of the surprises of the opening round of fixtures, in downing Denmark by a goal to nil (albeit in altogether unusual circumstances following Christian Eriksen’s collapse).
Nevertheless, if history is anything to go by, then a bounce-back Russia victory looks very much on the cards.
‘The National team’ have emerged victorious from all four of their previous meetings with Finland, since becoming an independent nation back in 1992. Not only that, but they have racked up an eye-watering aggregate scoreline of fifteen goals to one.
Finland’s only ever win vs their heavily favoured upcoming hosts came over 100 years ago, at the 1912 Olympic games. It is also worth noting that Russia, as outlined above, boast home advantage for the showdown.
2) Xhaka to meet new teammates?
An interesting side-note surrounding Wednesday’s meeting between Italy and Switzerland centers on the potential clash between Granit Xhaka, and his soon-to-be teammates at AS Roma.
The Arsenal midfielder, as has been widely reported in the media, has been identified as a key target by new Giallorossi boss Jose Mourinho, with a deal between the parties viewed as imminent.
In turn, with Xhaka no doubt set to feature from the off for his nation later today, a face-off with some of those whom he will be lining out alongside at club level next season looks all but assured. Roma trio Leonardo Spinazzola, Alessandro Florenzi and Bryan Cristante all played a part in Italy’s opening day drubbing of Turkey, with Xhaka having no doubt been licking his lips at the prospect of pinging passes out wide to the pacy Spinazzola over the seasons to come.
For now, though, the Arsenal man will need to focus on halting the momentum of Roberto Mancini’s rampant Azzurri.
This evening’s clash, coincidentally, is also set to play out at the Stadio Olimpico, Roma’s home ground.
3) Page eyeing revenge
One individual who will have revenge firmly on his mind heading into Day 5 of the action at the European Championships is Robert Page.
The Wales boss oversaw a solid 1-1 draw with the aforementioned Switzerland in his side’s tournament opener at the weekend, after Kieffer Moore’s header fifteen minutes from time cancelled out Breel Embolo’s opener:
“THAT’S WHY HE’S IN THE SIDE!”
Kieffer Moore 👊
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) June 12, 2021
Next up for the Dragons? A showdown with Turkey. The clash, for obvious reasons, is of paramount importance to the Welsh, as a defeat would all but end any hopes of a spot in the knockout rounds, ahead of a final day meeting with Italy.
Group A ramifications aside, though, Robert Page will be eyeing all 3 points for an altogether more personal reason. The last time Wales and Turkey faced off, in a qualifier for the 1998 World Cup, Page actually took to the pitch for the former. A remarkable 90 minutes, however, eventually saw Page and co. downed by six goals to four.
The Dragons boss will of course be hoping for a different outcome this time around.
4) Mancini to rotate?
For those taking part in this summer’s edition of Euro Fantasy Football, it will be key to take note of Italy’s starting XI vs Switzerland.
The Azzurri, as outlined above, got their Euros campaign off to a blistering start on the opening day, in utterly dominating Turkey, en route to an eventual 3-0 win. The likes of Domenico Berardi, Lorenzo Insigne, Jorginho and Manuel Locatelli shone bright, as the Italians staked an early claim as dark horses to go all the way this summer.
Will Roberto Mancini, however, opt to rotate his deep and talented squad on Wednesday? The former Manchester City boss has selection headaches in a number of positions in anticipation of taking on Switzerland, with the likes of Federico Chiesa, Emerson and Andrea Belotti waiting in the wings.
In addition, upon Marco Verratti returning to fitness, just who will drop out of the Azzurri’s midfield three? And can the aging Giorgio Chiellini be depended upon to take to the pitch on multiple occasions in the space of a week?
Don’t expect too many changes for this evening’s Stadio Olimpico matchup, but a shake-up could well be in the pipeline as the tournament progresses.
5) Keep an eye out for…
Our player to keep an eye out for on Wednesday is Finland’s Teemu Pukki.
The Norwich City hitman struggled to make a telling impact in his country’s Euros opener, as the Finns got the better of Nordic rivals Denmark.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 12, 2021
Don’t expect Pukki to be kept quiet for too long, though. The 31-year-old is fresh off the back of a scintillating campaign in the Championship, which saw him net 26 times, en route to an immediate return to the Premier League. Not only that, but Pukki was also in fine form throughout Finland’s qualifying campaign, notching a hefty 10 of the Huuhkajat’s 16 goals.
Having not managed to find the net in any of Finland’s last four outings, the law of averages suggests that goals are on the horizon for the prolific hitman…
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|1||Manchester City FC||38||51||86|
|2||Manchester United FC||38||29||74|
|5||Leicester City FC||38||18||66|
|6||West Ham United FC||38||15||65|
|7||Tottenham Hotspur FC||38||23||62|
|11||Aston Villa FC||38||9||55|
|12||Newcastle United FC||38||-16||45|
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|14||Crystal Palace FC||38||-25||44|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||38||-6||41|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||38||-41||26|
|20||Sheffield United FC||38||-43||23|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||23|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||22|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||17|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||17|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||17|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||16|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||15|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||14|
|Gundogan, Ilkay||Manchester City FC||13|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||13|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||12|
|Ings, Danny||Southampton FC||12|
|Wood, Chris||Burnley FC||12|
|Iheanacho, Kelechi||Leicester City FC||12|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||11|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||11|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||11|
|Bale, Gareth||Tottenham Hotspur FC||11|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||11|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||10|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||12|
|Gallagher, Conor||West Bromwich Albion||11|
|Maguire, Harry||Manchester United FC||11|
|Phillips, Kalvin||Leeds United||10|
|Hojbjerg, Pierre||Tottenham Hotspur FC||9|
|Milivojevic, Luka||Crystal Palace FC||1||8|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United FC||1||8|
|Luiz, Douglas||Aston Villa FC||8|
|Holgate, Mason||Everton FC||9|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||1||8|
|Soucek, Tomas||West Ham United FC||1||7|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United FC||8|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||7|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||8|
|Andersen, Joachim||Fulham FC||1||7|
|Egan, John||Sheffield United FC||1||7|
|Hayden, Isaac||Newcastle United FC||8|
|Dallas, Stuart||Leeds United||7|
|McGoldrick, David||Sheffield United FC||7|
|Reid, Bobby||Fulham FC||7|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||14|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||12|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City FC||11|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||10|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||10|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||9|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||8|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||8|
|Harrison, Jack||Leeds United||8|
|Werner, Timo||Chelsea FC||8|
|Gross, Pascal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||8|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||8|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||7|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||7|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||7|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||7|
|Eze, Eberechi||Crystal Palace FC||7|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||7|
|Robertson, Andrew||Liverpool FC||7|