Euro 2024 Heats Up: Netherlands vs. Turkey in Berlin Clash

Turkey's supporters wave flags prior the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Turkey and France at the Buyuksehir Belediyesi stadium in Konya, on June 8, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

The fight for a Euro 2024 semi-final spot intensifies as the Netherlands takes on Turkey at Berlin’s iconic Olympiastadion on Saturday. The winner faces either Switzerland or England in the next round, and both teams have reasons to be optimistic despite contrasting paths to the quarter-finals.

Dutch Eyeing Glory, But Face Unconvincing Start

The Netherlands reached the last eight with a stuttering start. After finishing third in a tough Group D, they dispatched Romania 3-0 in the round of 16. Despite creating a record number of chances in the box, goals from Cody Gakpo and Donyell Malen were needed to secure the win.

READ: Who is Arda Guler? The 18-year-old ‘Turkish Messi’ Wanted by Europe’s Biggest Clubs

Head coach Ronald Koeman, part of the Netherlands’ sole major trophy win in 1988, seeks to repeat history. Young talents Xavi Simons and Gakpo are shining, fueling Dutch dreams of glory.

Turkish Resilience Tested Again

Turkey started the tournament with a bang, scoring the fastest ever Euro knockout goal against Austria. Center-back Merih Demiral netted a brace, but Austria threatened to equalize until a miraculous last-minute save by goalkeeper Mert Gunok.

Missing captain Hakan Calhanoglu and facing potential suspensions, Turkey’s young guns, including Arda Guler and Kenan Yildiz, impressed. Coach Vincenzo Montella must navigate a team determined to reach their second ever Euro semi-final.

A Tight Match with Historical Significance

Both teams won their home games against each other in World Cup qualifying. With Turkey’s thrilling recent matches and the Dutch seeking redemption, this promises to be an entertaining encounter for neutral fans.

Following their convincing win over Romania, Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is likely to stick with a familiar starting XI on Saturday. Bart Verbruggen will hold the fort in goal, with Virgil van Dijk leading the defense as captain.

However, an injury to Steven Bergwijn means a change on the right flank. Jeremie Frimpong or Donyell Malen, who impressed after coming off the bench, could partner Denzel Dumfries.

Up front, the potent duo of Cody Gakpo, with his three goals in four games, and Memphis Depay, chasing Robin van Persie’s scoring record, will be a handful for the Turkish defense.

Turkey receives a boost with the return of captain Hakan Calhanoglu, but their midfield faces a different challenge.

Orkun Kokcu and Ismail Yuksek are suspended, with Kokcu missing a chance to play against his native Netherlands. The fate of Merih Demiral, the hero from the last game, hangs in the balance due to a potential UEFA sanction. Samet Akaydin stands ready to step in at center-back if needed.

Despite a staggering eight players walking a tightrope of suspension for a potential semi-final, manager Vincenzo Montella will be solely focused on securing a win in this crucial encounter.

Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Verbruggen; Dumfries, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Ake; Schouten, Reijnders; Malen, Simons, Gakpo; Depay

Turkey possible starting lineup:
Gunok; Muldur, Akaydin, Bardakci, Kadioglu; Ayhan, Yokuslu; Yildiz, Calhanoglu, Yilmaz; Guler