Turkey lost 2-1 against England at the Etihad but did manage to score their first ever goal against the Three Lions.
Below are three things we learned about Turkey following the game.
Turkey have trouble keeping a clean sheet at the start and end of games. The Crescent-Stars have now conceded early goals against England, Qatar and Austria in their last few games. Conceding late has also been a problem. Just remember back to the Netherlands game when Sneijder equalised in additional time. Fatih Terim has to get his side to come out of the blocks firing and maintain full concentration from start until finish.
2. Defending from set-pieces
Jamie Vardy’s winner was completely preventable. What should have been an easy to deal with routine set-piece turned into a calamity of errors. Firstly the Turkish defence were caught ball watching and did not apply enough pressure to prevent England from getting a header in on goal. Secondly Ismail Koybasi reacted late and instead of clearing the ball from the near post he got in his keepers way causing Volkan Babacan to spill the ball into the path of the Leicester City striker who buried the ball into the back of the net. Turkey simply cannot afford to gift the opposition goals in Euro 2016. Fatih Terim must work on his sides set-piece defending ability.
3. Midfield quality
At times Turkey dominated the game and were more technical that England which posed the home side problems in the final third. The wizardry of Bayer Leverkusen star Hakan Calhanoglu and Oguzhan Ozyakup and their growing synergy has started to become more apparent. Ozyakup split the England defence in half with a clever through ball that eventually resulted in Calhanoglu scoring the winner. Barcelona’s Arda Turan is still to return and Terim has yet to find a role for Mainz 05 hot prospect Yunus Malli. Explosive Besiktas winger Gokhan Tore will be coming in for the third Euro 2016 game and the likes of Ozan Tufan, Selcuk Inan and Mehmet Topal offer defensive/central midfield cover.
Turkey were visibly tired going into the last 10 minutes. Terim responded after the game by bringing in US based fitness expert Scott Piri. The same coach was responsible for doing a great job in getting the Crescent-Stars in shape for Euro 2016.
5. Mehmet Topal in defence or midfield
Topal started in defence despite being a defensive midfielder. The Turkish international star is capable of playing as a centre-back but he is better suited in midfield. The problem is Terim does not have many experienced options at centre-back. Serdar Aziz will return – hopefully – by the Euro’s which could result in Aziz-Hakan Balta or Semih Kaya at the back. Terim will want to make use of Topal but exactly where ‘spiderman’ gets deployed could go down to the wire.