Euro 2016: Turkey v Spain – Preview

Turkey take on reigning champions Spain in the second of their Group D Euro 2016 games at Nice this evening.

The Crescent-Stars have no injury concerns going into the game but Hakan Balta, Serdar Aziz and Cenk Tosun are all on yellow cards.

The defence is expected to stay the same with defensive midfielder Mehmet Topal keeping his place in the back line.

Turkey looked shaky at times times against Croatia but that was mainly due to getting exploited down the left flank. Srna and co managed to bomb in 31 crosses and 46 percent of attacks were launched down Caner Erkin’s side.

It would be wrong to pin the blame on Caner considering Arda Turan went AWOL and contributed little defensively.

Despite their problems at the back Turkey have only conceded more than one goal in a single game just once in their last 17 matches and will be better suited to defend against Spain who rely less on aerial balls and crosses.

Turkey were awful against Croatia but it is worth noting that the Crescent-Stars have all four of their European Championship opening games but only once (1996) have they started a Euro campaign with successive defeats.

In fact Turkey have made it to the semi-finals of their last two major international tournaments.

Spain however, have lost just one of their 10 meetings with Turkey (W5 D4 L1) and have won their last three competitive games against the Crescent-Stars.

So what can Turkey do to get a result against Spain? Fatih Terim’s side look sluggish against Croatia. Terim has been experimenting with Emre Mor, Volkan Sen and Burak Yilmaz during training this week as all three would offer an injection of pace. It would not be a surprise to see one of the mentioned trio against Spain. That could mean one of either Hakan Calhanoglu or Oguzhan Ozyakup getting cut. Considering the value Calhanoglu offers from set-pieces it could end up being Ozyakup who gets dropped.

Terim needs his players to work a lot harder off the ball and have an attacking outlet which they lacked against Croatia. Yilmaz would offer more pace upfront than Tosun as would Mor and Sen on the wings. The head coach seems keen on sticking with Ozan Tufan in central midfield despite the 21-year-old getting slammed for fixing his hair instead of busting a gut to close down Luka Modric in the lead up to the game winning goal. Terim does have options and if he does make a surprise it would most likely be Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin making his Euro 2016 debut coming in for Selcuk Inan or Tufan.

Turan had an awful game against Croatia he did not work hard off the ball which allowed Srna and Brosicek to double team Caner down Turkey’s left flank. He did not offer much going forwards either and was subbed off on 60 minutes. Turan is however, the captain and is the only player in the team that knows the Spanish side inside out. The bearded winger knows all about his opposition which could come in useful considering most of the Turkey squad will be relatively unknown to Spain. Turan is one of three surviving players from the side that reached the Euro 2008 finals and has been directly involved in nine goals in his last 12 games for Turkey. When he is on his A game he can be a game changer.

Prediction: Turkey Draw no Bet

Spain – Turkey
Stadium: Nice
Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)

Kick-Off: 20:00 GMT

Spain: De Gea, Juanfran, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Busquets, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta, Nolito, Morata
Manager: Vicente Dol Bosque

Turkey: Volkan Babacan, Gökhan Gönül, Mehmet Topal, Hakan Balta, Caner Erkin, Selçuk İnan, Ozan Tufan, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Oğuzhan, Arda, Burak Yılmaz
Manager: Fatih Terim

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