Turkey vs Hungary – Preview: Crescent Stars hope to continue impressive form

Turkey's forward Cengiz Under (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Turkey and France at the Buyuksehir Belediyesi stadium in Konya, on June 8, 2019. (Photo by Bulent Kilic / AFP) (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey get their UEFA Nations League campaign underway on Thursday evening against Hungary.

The opening Group B3 clash will be both sides first game since November.

For those of you scouring the betting exchange sites for the best odds and picks for this game I have put together a preview for you.

Turkey were in great form heading into Euro 2020 qualifying as runners-up to reigning world champions France.

Even more impressively, the Crescent Stars took four points from France over the two head to head games.

The French only finished a single point ahead of Turkey who only lost a single game.

Turkey had the joint best defensive record in the qualification campaign conceding just three goals in 10 games.

The Turks have lost just a single game in their last 13 matches – nine ended in wins and three in draws.

What really stands out about this current Turkish team is how young the star players are.

The central defenders Caglar Soyuncu and Merih Demiral are 23 and 21-years-old, respectively.

Juventus centre-back Demiral is coming back from a lengthy injury so Schalke ace Ozan Kabak could start and he is aged just 21.

Star winger Cengiz Under is 23, Lille right-back Mehmet Zeki Celik is 23-years-old.

Out of the expected starting lineup for Turkey against Hungary only Mahmet Tekdemir and Lille forward Burak Yilmaz are aged over 30.

Hungary meanwhile, missed out on qualifying for Euro 2020 – which has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disruptions.

Despite a decent campaign, the Magyars missed out on qualification by two points after losing their final two games against Wales and Slovakia.

The Hungarians also have a young side with no player aged older than 32.

The Turkish side is, however, well settled, the team have gelled and the Hungarian side will find it difficult to break through the defence.

In years gone past defence was Turkey’s weak point. It is not their biggest strength. Ironically, the Turks have lost some bite in attack, which used to be their forte.

Under is the main man in attack, Yilmaz has years of experience and will pose a threat.

Basaksehir star Irfan Can Kahveci could be deployed to add some creativity to what is otherwise a hard-working, defensively-minded midfield.

Celta Vigo midfielder Okay Yokuslu is likely to start but if Ozan Tufan and Mahmet Tekdemir get the nod Turkey will lack a creative spark.

Overall Turkey does have a stronger side who are in great form and managed by Senol Gunes who is the most successful head coach to take charge of the national team.

I do not expect an easy game and with neither side having played for a lengthy period of time it could be unpredictable but I give Turkey the edge.

Prediction: Turkey Win