Turkey has no other option than counter-pressing

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 07.06.2016 00:12

Turkey has no option but counter-pressing Turkish players and coach Fatih Terim were unable to assure Turkish fans that their team is capable of playing a dominant, organized game before Euro 2016. Almost every friendly game was totally unpredictable for the Turkish national team and they did not present us with a well-built plan that the team can use against every opponent. Of course, friendly games do not show the real picture of teams, but they signify some important issues before it is too late. What the three friendly games Turkey played before the tournament showed was that the Turkish national team has to play a counter-attacking game with shock-presses to force the opponent's defense into mistakes.

The first question that should be asked is why the Turkish national team has no other options before moving any further in this strategy. The reason why Turkey has only one plan is that coach Fatih Terim cannot build a collective game where individual talents are just bonuses, not the game itself. If you watch all the goals that Turkey scored in the friendly games you will see the importance of individuality. On the other hand, if you carefully watch all the goals that Turkey conceded, you will observe the organizational deficiencies of the team. Therefore, Turkey can compensate for their chaotic style with its individual talents, up to a point of course, but the defense has no option other than a concrete plan.

Given there is no significant period of time in the Turkish national team's history when the team's defense was the determining factor, traditional counter-attacking with a static defense would be contradictory with the core of the Turkish national team. Rather than that, Terim and his players should opt for the modernized version of counter-attacking, which Jose Mourinho and Diego Simeone mastered. Even though the team is not made up of athletic players but more technical players, Terim can utilize his creative midfield to quickly pass into the opponent's half. But firstly, he has to convince his players to start defending from the opponent's half.

There is always a possibility that the Turkish national team can score against every team in the competition given their individual talents, but the possibility of Turkey conceding more goals would be always higher with Turkey's current form. Teams like Spain and Germany also have many individual talents - better individuals no less - and they also have offensive strategies that could poke holes in Turkey's weak defense in front of millions of people. Hence, if Turkey can disturb their tactics from the beginning and not let them come into the Turkish half so easily, Terim's players can have a serious chance in the competition.

Otherwise, if the big guns of the tournament can reach the Turkish penalty box without effort, there will be no way that Turkey can compensate for this deficiency with their individual talents. The key strategy is to keep the danger at bay and to force the opponent's defense to make lethal mistakes near their penalty box. Turkey has to rely on the opponent's inability to get out of high-intensity press without making mistakes, it is too late to create the opportunities on their own.

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