Hello! Where on earth have you been? We’ve been waiting 364 days for you. But don’t worry, we’ve stalled everyone. Turns out you’ve arrived in the nick of time. This is going to be a blast.
Thing is, people get so het up about where in-play tournaments are going to end up in the pantheon. Endless arguments. Half-decent games are compared to the 1984 semi between France and Portugal by folk desperate to believe they’re living through a golden age; half-decent tournaments are compared to Euro 80 by the glass-half-empty edgelord crowd. The truth, we can exclusively reveal, is almost always somewhere in the middle.
But this time, it really, really, really doesn’t matter. There will be 51 matches at the 16th Uefa European Championship. They could all end 0-0, and it’d still be an excuse to enjoy every single minute, a reason to party hearty, a cause for wild celebration. After all the world’s been through in the last year-and-a-bit, a major international football tournament is about to begin! With fans in situ!!! Whatever happens, this is going to be the feelgood hit of the summer. Sit back and enjoy.
The tournament begins with an intriguing match between away side Italy, hosting in Rome, and designated home side Turkey, playing away. (Go with it, it’s going to be that kind of tournament.) The Turks have scored 14 goals in their last six matches, while the Azzurri, back in the big time after missing the last World Cup, haven’t been beaten since 2018, a run that stretches to 27 matches.
Before that, there’s an opening ceremony to get through. More on that anon, because we’ll have plenty of time to fill. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 7pm BST, the big game at 8pm BST. At long last, we can say it. Euro 2020: it’s on!