UEFA Euro 2020: Previewing the Competition and How Turkey Might Fare
The UEFA Euro 2020 competition from group stages to finals is taking place between the 11th of June and the 11th of July 2021. This event is unique in that it is the first time the competition is being held at multiple venues across the continent. There are a total of 11 host cities where fans will be able to watch each stage of the tournament.
Turkey so far has a mixed history at the Euros, having participated four times since 1996. The Turkish team offered a strong performance in 2008, reaching the semi-finals where they were narrowly beaten by Germany in the 89th minute. In 2020 the team reached the quarter-finals but in both other competitions only just made it past the group stage. Euros betting odds are currently offering around 50/1 for Turkey’s chances of winning the latest tournament. While it may not be likely that Turkey will be victorious, there are a lot of people who believe this year’s team is strong enough to perform well and make to the further stages of the competition. It is always interesting to see how the odds within the Euros tend to vary between different countries within the tournament. For instance, you can compare the above odds for Turkey against the speltips for operators in Sweden.
History of the Euros
The UEFA European Championship is a four-yearly football event held in Europe. The tournament first began in 1958, celebrating football across Europe with a competition between the best national teams. Teams must play a series of qualifying games to secure entry to the tournament and then tackle five distinct stages in pursuit of the cup. These are the group stages, final 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. There have so far been ten countries in total that have taken home the European Cup – Spain (3), Germany (3), France (2), Portugal (1), Denmark (1), Greece (1), Italy (1), Soviet Union (1), Netherlands (1) and Czechoslovakia (1).
The Group stages are widely regarded as the first stages of the tournament, although all teams except the host nation must also play a series of qualifying games to make it into the group stages. These are typically televised and fans count group stage matches as the start of the tournament. Turkey have qualified as part of Group A, along with Italy, Wales and Switzerland. This places them second-favourites to win the group and likely to at least make it into the final 16. The winners and runners-up of each of the seven groups qualify for the next round, along with the four best third-place finishers across all the groups.
The Final 16 round of the event will take place between 26th and 29th of June 2021, with games in eight cities across Europe. The winners of these games will then face each other on the 2nd or 3rd of July, with quarter-final games in St- Petersburg, Rome, Baku and Munich. The semi-finals and the final will be held at Wembley Stadium in London, with the semis on the 6th and 7th of July and the final on the 11th of July.
A Strong Turkish Team
Turkey may have had a mixed bag of results at the Euros in the past but they are entering the group stages this year with a strong team which includes Ozan Kabak, Merih Demiral and Yusuf Yazici. Turkey demonstrated a strong defence throughout the qualifying rounds, with central defender Demiral forming a key part of that defence. Demiral plays for Serie A side Juventus and has forged a strong reputation as one to watch, despite being still only 22 years of age.
Enes Ünal is another young one to watch on the Turkish team this year. The 23-year old forward plays for Getafe FC and has played on the Turkish national team for his age group for several years. As part of the U-17s squad, Ünal scored eight goals in nine games and as part of the U-19s he scored four goals in three games. Backed by a strong defence, Ünal could have the potential to drive Turkey further forward in this year’s Euro event than they have ever been before.
Favourites to Win
At 50/1 Turkey are by no means the favourites to win but they could be a solid bet for reaching the semi-finals this year. The current favourites are France at 9/2, England at 5/1 and Belgium at 11/2. Germany have odds of 7/1 at present, followed by Portugal, Spain and, most importantly, Italy at 8/1. Turkey will face Italy in the first round of the group stages and are expected by most to be outshone by the high-performing Azzuri. However, there is still potential for Turkey to qualify for the next stage even if Italy retain their current unbeaten record for 2021.
Should Turkey defy the odds and beat Italy, fans will perhaps be less surprised than they might have been prior to the last FIFA World Cup. This tournament showed conclusively that minnows can indeed topple giants, with both Spain and Germany knocked out after playing Russia and South Korea respectively. While the odds indicate a team’s chances of winning, there is always everything to play for in a big tournament such as the Euros.