Analysis of the Turkish National Team, Croatia’s First EURO 2016 Opponent

Total Croatia News


One dqy before the opening match for the Croatian team, we analyzed their first opponent

EURO 2016 kicked off yesterday night and a day before the Croatia – Turkey match, on June 11, 2016, we analyzed the Turkish team. There is a history between two sides, as Turkey brought quite a lot of anguish Croatian supporters after their last meeting at the European Championships eight years ago in Vienna. Croatia returned the favor four years later, kicking Turkey out of the 2012 EURO in the qualifications. To continue the rivalry, the teams will meet at the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers this fall.


Turkey’s ambitions of reaching the Euro 2016 knockout stages will largely depend on the form of their inspirational captain Arda Turan, who has had a patchy season with his new club Barcelona. The 29-year-old midfielder joined Barca from Atletico Madrid in July 2015 but was sidelined for six months by the club’s transfer ban which meant he made his debut only in January. He has, though, failed to establish himself as a regular starter in the wake of stiff competition and been used mainly as a substitute. For Turkey, he remains the main man and his array of skills, which made him one of Atletico’s key players during his four-year spell with the club, will be their best hope of avoiding an early exit in France. Also, the experience of their coach, Fatih Terim is a big boost for the Turkish team.


Having to play a defensive midfielder in defense highlights one of Terim’s biggest problems. He will not have the Bayer Leverkusen defender Omer Toprak available, which has created a headache. Topal and the experienced Galatasaray stalwart Hakan Balta seems the most likely pairing. They are not natural centre-backs, so this could be a problem for Turkey.


Terim controversially left the Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel out of the squad. While Demirel is undoubtedly more experienced than Volkan Babacan, the coach decided Demirel’s presence was not good for harmony. A brave decision, but it can backfire easily on Turkey’s coach. The emphasis of Terim’s style is fast passing, possession-based technical football. Turkey has the quality in midfield to keep hold of the ball, and while they are a little toothless up front Calhanoglu, Ozyakup and Turan are capable of creating magic.Terim has managed to find balance in an unbalanced team, but any injuries to the centre-backs or forwards will prove a major headache. The array of talent in midfield could just be enough to paper over the cracks.


Due to the nature of their qualification Turkey are under no public pressure. Getting to the tournament was an unexpected achievement, but Terim has built a siege mentality in the team and the last time he got Turkey to the EURO in 2008, they reached the semi-finals. Terim has installed his never-say-die attitude, a fact that Croatians learned in a tough way, and this side has a lot more quality than the squad he took to this championship eight years ago.


Turkey is a good team, but as does Croatia, there is a big question mark over their capability of overturning the weaknesses to their advantage. They have a good atmosphere in the team but tend to rely on the inspiration of the star players. Croatia has the better team on paper, but everything is possible in this clash.


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