Turkey may be underestimated by many in the Euro 2020 with seemingly big name like France and England catching the limelight, but not to forget they are a team who has the full potential to compete at the highest level when they perform their best.
Euro 2020 Turkey Preview
With Senol Gunes taking up the managerial hot seat for his second stint since 2002-04, it is anticipated by many that he would take Turkey to their zenith again like he did two decades back when he led the Turks to the semi final and a third place finish in the FIFA World Cup their highest ever run in an international competition. Some glimpses of strength of the Turkish squad was seen when they qualified for the Euro by taking four points of the World Champions France and finishing second in the group by losing just one match. Let us take a look at their squad ahead of their clash against Italy on the opening fixture of Euro in the historic city of Rome.
Goalkeepers: Mert Gunok (Istanbul Basaksehir), Ugurcan Cakir (Trabzonspor), Altay Bayindir (Fenerbahce), Gokhan Akkan (Rizespor)
Defenders: Zeki Celik (Lille/FRA), Mert Muldur (Sassuolo/ITA), Merih Demiral (Juventus/ITA), Ozan Kabak (Liverpool/ENG), Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester/ENG), Kaan Ayhan (Sassuolo/ITA), Umut Meras (Le Havre/FRA), Ridvan Yilmaz (Besiktas)
Midfielders: Abdulkadir Omur (Trabzonspor), Cengiz Under (Leicester/ENG), Efecan Karaca (Alanyaspor), Halil Akbunar (Goztepe), Dorukhan Tokoz (Besiktas), Irfan Can Kahveci (Fenerbahce), Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir), Okay Yokuslu (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Orkun Kokcu (Feyenoord/NED), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce), Taylan Antalyali (Galatasaray), Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan/ITA), Yusuf Yazici (Lille/FRA)
Forwards: Burak Yilmaz (Lille/FRA), Enes Unal (Getafe/ESP), Halil Ibrahim Dervisoglu (Galatasaray), Kenan Karaman (Fortuna Duesseldorf/GER), Kerem Akturkoglu (Galatasaray)
EURO 2020 KEY PLAYERS FOR TURKEY
Gunes is blessed to have a squad full of top talents with dependable players at the helm as he looks to mimic his exploits of South Korea with this new generation, putting on a magnificent show in the process. Some important players the 69 year old would be counting on are as follows.
Caglar Soyuncu pretty much sums up his new Turkish side with the Leicester defender, the wall in the defense line. With Harry Maguire departing for Manchester United, there was a lot of speculation surrounding the Foxes ability to continue their top of the table finish, but the 25 year old former Freiburg defender came up big showing some strong performances at the back, helping Leicester to continue their top form under Brendan Rodgers and even winning an FA cup last season. Being one of the consistent and complete centre back the Crescent stars would be depending on him for a rock solid back line along with the partnership of Ozan Kabak the young Schalke loanee playing for Liverpool.
‘Age is just a number’ is phrase we have heard a lot of times in football and this season the player who had defied his age is none other than Burak Yilmaz. The 35 year old Lille striker have been in a sensational form this season netting a club high 16 goals for the french side and was instrumental in their Ligue 1 win since the 2010-2011 season beating their strong counterparts PSG by just one point. Pure striking abilities along with robust parternship with other attackers are what makes him a seasoned striker to start a game anyday. This age defying player would surely grab a lot of attention as he looks up to score some fiesty goals linking up with the talented midfielders like Calhanoglu right from the opening match.
Other notable players include Hakan Calhanoglu who can help with his experience, Cengiz Under, Orkun Kokcu and Yusuf Yacizi.
Other Players To Watch out for : Cengiz Under, Merih Demiral, Zeki Celik.
TURKEY EURO 2020 GROUP STAGE & FIXTURES
|June 11||Italy vs Turkey||21:00||Stadio Olimpico, Rome|
|June 16||Turkey Vs Wales||18:00||Baku Olympic Stadium, Azerbaijan|
|June 10||Turkey vs Switzerland||18:00||Baku Olympic Stadium, Azerbaijan|
If Turkey top their Group A group, which is quite unlikely, they will play runners-up of Group C at the Wembley, London in the Round of 16. Finishing second, they meet runners-up of Group B on June 26 at Amsterdam.
TURKEY EURO HISTORY
|1996||England||Group Stage Elimination|
|2000||Belgium Netherlands||Quarter Finals|
|2016||France||Group Stage Elimination|
TURKEY’S CHANCES IN EURO 2020
The World wide pandemic causing the Euros to get postponed by one year have been a blessing in disguise for the Turkish National team as lot of crucial players like Merih Demiral, Yusuf Yacizi and Ozan Kabak who were earlier ruled out from the competition due to injury, are now back at their best. Thanks to a year long time, the Crescent Stars have been back at their full squad strength going shoulder to shoulder against top teams. They have been pitted against Italy, Switzerland and Wales in group “A” with their opening fixture against Italy on 11th of June. Gunes men would be looking forward to a fantastic campaign, qualifying the seemingly tricky group and competing late in the knockouts.
Turkey Prediction for Euro 2020
The group “A” containing Turkey, Italy, Wales and Switzerland may be a tricky group though not seeming such on the outside, with favourites Italy, expectedly topping the group it would be interesting to see which team clinches the second spot. Turkey has all that is required for a top class fight and they wont give up on their Europeans dream easily. If they qualify from their group on the second position they would be facing 2nd finishing team in group “B” which could be either of Denmark and Russia hopefully. Round of 16 onwards would be the real challenge for the Turks and it would be gripping to see if they overcome them as a united team.
Final prediction: Quarter Finals.