Turkey: A surprise package for Euro 2020 success

Turkey fans cheer for their national team during the 2016 FIBA Olympic men's qualifying basketball tournament match between Turkey and Senegal in Manila on July 7, 2016. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

We are still awaiting confirmation that the competition will go ahead this summer due to the spread of coronavirus across Europe in recent weeks. As we recently reported, UEFA are set to make a statement regarding Euro 2020 next week.

Those of you looking to place a bet, may be considering wagering on Turkey pulling off a major upset. They are 100/1 outsiders to win Euro 2020 this summer, according to the latest odds from major bookmakers – and even higher on some of the betting exchanges.

That said, given their recent run of results, an indicative probability of less than 1% doesn’t seem proportionate to their realistic chances of success.

Senol Gunes’ side qualified in second place behind world champions France to book their place in this summers competition. Turkey defeated France at home and managed to hold Les Bleus to a draw in Paris.

Turkey have been known for their creative midfielders and strikers over the past two decades however, this time defence is their major strength. Caglar Soyuncu, who is playing a leading role in the Premier League with Leicester City, sits at the heart of the defence alongside Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral.

Demiral is currently suspended and is expected to miss this summers competition however if UEFA decides to postpone Euro 2020, there is a high chance Demiral will feature.
Turkey does have strength-in-depth in defence with Kaan Ayhan, Omer Toprak and Ozan Kabak ready to step up in Demiral’s absence.

At right-back, Turkey will field Lille star Zeki Cenik while Le Havre’s Umut Meras is Gunes’ prefered left wing-back.

Turkey’s midfield appears to be pretty weak on paper with Fenerbahce’s Ozan Tufan and Basaksehir’s Irfan Kahveci expected to start. What Gunes lacks in ability and creativity is made up for in industry and hard work.

During qualification, Turkey’s midfield pairings focused on disrupting the oppositions and launching counter-attacks rather than defence-splitting passes.

Turkey’s creative spark will fall upon AS Roma star Cengiz Under. The flamboyant winger has been in impressive form when playing for Turkey this season and has recently re-established himself in Roma’s starting eleven.

Trabzonspor wonderkid Abdulkadir Omur recently returned to first-team football after recovering from a knee injury. The 20-year-old has been linked with a Premier League move over the past year and is expected to feature for Turkey if he maintains his fitness.
Lille attacking midfielder Yusuf Yazici is also expected to miss the remainder of the season with an injury and is only likely to feature in the competition if Euro 2020 gets delayed. The same goes for striker Cenk Tosun who recently suffered a serious knee injury during training with Crystal Palace.

Valladolid striker Enes Unal has returned to form in recent weeks and could get into Senol Gunes’ starting eleven ahead of Burak Yilmaz.

At 100/1, Turkey are rank outsiders, however, as Alex Ferguson said, “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles,” and Turkey does have a great defence which has been tested against the World Champions.

Verdict:

If Senol Gunes’ side can maintain their defensive solidity, and rely in the likes of Cengiz Under to produce moments of magic, there is no reason why Turkey can’t advance into the latter stages of the competition.