Soccer-Locatelli, Berardi start as Italy open Euro 2020 against Turkey

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(Reuters) - Italy picked Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli in their team to face Turkey in the opening game of Euro 2020 on Friday, as neither coach sprang any major surprises.

Locatelli was given the nod by Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini after Marco Verratti picked up a knee injury that will keep him out until at least the second game of the championship.

Lille midfielder Yusuf Yazici starts for Turkey alongside his club team mates Zeki Celik and veteran striker Burak Yilmaz, who captains the side, after all three played a leading role in the French club’s Ligue 1 title win in 2020-21.

Mancini opted for Locatelli’s club team mate Domenico Berardi over Federico Chiesa on the right wing.

Leonardo Spinazzola is preferred to Emerson at left back, while Ciro Immobile of Lazio leads the line in his club’s Olympic Stadium.

Turkey’s lineup includes two Italy-based players in Merih Demiral of Juventus and Hakan Calhanoglu of AC Milan, while AS Roma winger Cengiz Under, who spent last season on loan at Leicester City, is on the bench.

There is a familiar partnership at the back for the Azzurri, as 34-year-old Leonardo Bonucci and 36-year-old Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus play in their 108th and 103rd internationals respectively.


Turkey: Ugurcan Cakir; Zeki Celik, Caglar Soyuncu, Merih Demiral, Umut Meras; Okay Yokuslu, Ozan Tufan, Kenan Karaman, Hakan Calhanoglu, Yusuf Yazici; Burak Yilmaz (captain)

Substitutes: Mert Gunok, Altay Bayindir, Cengiz Under, Dorukhan Tokoz, Taylan Antalyali, Ozan Kabak, Enes Unal, Orkun Kokcu, I rfan Can Kahveci, Kaan Ayhan, Mert Muldur, Halil Dervisoglu.

Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Alessandro Florenzi, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (captain), Leonardo Spinazzola; Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli; Domenico Berardi, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne

Substitutes: Salvatore Sirigu, Alex Meret, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Andrea Belotti, Matteo Pessina, Emerson Palmieri, Federico Chiesa, Francesco Acerbi, Bryan Cristante, Federico Bernardeschi, Giacomo Raspadori, Alessandro Bastoni

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Ken Ferris)