The first match of soccer’s European championship gets underway Friday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, with Turkey taking on Italy.
The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship was postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic that brought many of the world’s activities to a halt.
It is notable that Friday’s opening match will be played in Italy, the first country outside of Asia to get hit by the pandemic and the world’s first to impose a nationwide lockdown.
Euro 2020 was suspended last March as countries worked to contain virus outbreaks that have killed more than 1 million Europeans, including 127,000 Italians.
Organizers of the tournament, the Union of European Football Associations, hope to allay concerns that it is still unsafe for tens of thousands of fans to gather in stadiums across Europe by undertaking several safety measures. They include crowd limitations, staggered fan arrival times, social distancing and hand sanitizer.
Fans attending the match in Rome are required to show documentation they have been vaccinated, tested negative in the 48 hours before the match, or previously have had the coronavirus.
Euro 2020, the 16th UEFA championship, is scheduled through July 11.
For the first time, matches will be played across Europe. The host cities are Rome, London, Saint Petersburg, Baku, Munich, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Seville.