By Baris Seckin
ROME (AA) - Italy started vaccinating its national football team players Monday against the novel coronavirus ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said in a statement that players on the national team, known as “gli Azzurri" (the Blues), started receiving their first coronavirus shots at hospitals in Rome and Milan.
FIGC said priority for the COVID-19 vaccine was given to the national squad as the EURO 2020 will start in June.
The EURO 2020 was previously moved to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The European football contest will be held from June 11 to July 11.
Separately, FIGC chair Gabriele Gravina thanked the Italian authorities for this opportunity.
Italy will play against Turkey, Wales and Switzerland in Group A.
The tournament's opening match will be between Turkey and Italy on June 11 at Rome's Olympic Stadium.
Italy is one of the leading football nations, winning the EURO title in 1968.
Gli Azzurri were the runners-up in the EURO 2000 and 2012.
In the previous European football championship held in 2016, Italy was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Portugal are the defending champions, winning the EURO 2016, which France hosted.
*Writing by Can Erozden