Roberto Mancini admits the Euro 2020 opener with Turkey feels ‘even more special’ because there are fans and it’s Italy’s first in a major tournament for five years.
It kicks off at the Stadio Olimpico at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) with 16,000 fans present.
“We were all waiting for this, because sport without a public is not the same. We hope to have even more very soon,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“There’s the satisfaction of being here for the inauguration, for such a wonderful game, and to see people in the stadium.”
The Azzurri have not played in a major tournament for five years, having missed the 2018 World Cup and then seeing Euro 2020 delayed by a year due to the pandemic.
“When you represent your country, there is no lack of motivation. As it’s the first in a major tournament in so long, it’ll be even more special.”
Mancini also spoke to RAI Sport on the Stadio Olimpico pitch.
“The sensations are good. This is a football match, we play to enjoy ourselves and that must always be the primary objective.
“The lads have belief, we have great respect for the opponents we will face, but are also convinced of the good work we’ve done.”