Euro 2020 (group A). Turkey – Italy, this Friday (9 p.m.), in Rome
Starting the Euro with the inaugural match of the competition, against Italy, in Rome, it does not look easy for Turkey …
It’s not a gift, that’s for sure! Taking a point would be great to start with. Behind, Turkey will play two games in a row in Azerbaijan (against Wales on June 16 and against Switzerland on 20), so almost at home. There will be plenty of Turks in the audience.
In what form does the selection take place?
There is a positive state of mind, qualifying went well. It’s a young team, with an average age of 25 (24.9, the youngest in the competition). But she has experienced players, like Burak Yilmaz, who scored in Ligue 1, and very talented youngsters, who play abroad, like center-backs Soyuncu (Leicester), Demiral (Juventus), Kabak (Liverpool )… The Turkish selection is calm, confident and happy to play together. There is not too much pressure, since there is no particular waiting. Coach Senol Gunes has defined the 2022 World Cup as the main objective of this generation which has a future ahead of it. We have expectations because we love the players, they are young, we see them perform in their club. Leaving the group would already be a goal.
Calhanoglu and Burak Yilmaz seem to be the most technical elements of this group. Who are the leaders of the selection?
Hakan Calhanoglou took a lot of volume in Milan, he wants to show his abilities, the Euro is also a stage to show himself and have offers. The two center-backs – Soyuncu (Leicester) and Demiral (Juventus) – can, too, score this Euro and also perhaps Cengiz Under (Leicester), who hasn’t played much this season. But the undisputed leader is Burak (Yilmaz), who is also the most experienced.
What are the characteristics of this team?
Turkey defend very well against teams stronger than themselves (2nd in its qualifying group behind France, best defense of the qualifiers with 3 goals conceded). She closes off spaces well, is very disciplined and realistic. On the other hand, against equivalent teams or even below, it can show difficulties in creating phases of the game, as against Albania (1-0; 2-0) or against Andorra (1-0; 2-0) , where she struggled to create against teams that were defending well. It can be an advantage against Italy.
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