A complete analysis of Turkey before first game

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 10.06.2016 21:59
Updated 10.06.2016 22:00

Unfortunately I had to write this piece before France and Romania played the first game of Euro 2016 but fortunately I had the chance to write it before Turkey played their first game. I would like to show the main problems of the Turkish national team before the crucial Croatia game. If we put those problems in order of importance; physical inadequacy, lack of organized set pieces and lack of quality of defenders and forwards would be the right order. It is too late to solve the first two ones, Turkey has to face their physical and organizational deficiencies in the tournament. Nevertheless, with some motivation and faith, Turkey might solve the last one spontaneously in the tournament and might reacquire their position in the quarter or semi-finals if chaos favors them.

The first deficiency is evident by the Turkish players', especially the ones who play in Turkey, fleshy body. When the team played against England, who are one of the most athletic and fit teams in Europe right now, most of the time Turkish players miserably chased their English colleagues and could only stop them by tackling from behind or pulling them down. Thus, given England are not the only team in Euro 2016 who are considerably more athletic and fit than Turkey, the national team has a fundamental problem from the beginning. It does not matter if you have the most effective strategy or the most talented feet, if you cannot run as fast as your opponent, jump as high as your opponent and fight as hard as your opponent, you have very little chance of winning.

Secondly, Turkey still do not possess a concrete plan to score or prevent their opponent from scoring. This means when Turkey have the ball, there are no set pieces or pre-planned strategies in the players' minds and everything happens chaotically and momentarily. Therefore, if somehow Turkey manage to score, then the wind would be at Turkey's back and the talented midfielders such as Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Arda Turan and Oğuzhan Özyakup can continue to create opportunities individually. Nevertheless, the real problems start when Turkey cannot find opportunities through chaos, which is very likely given luck is a huge factor in chaos, the team does not have the tactics, which would be valid even though the wind is at the opponent's back and can change the momentum.

For instance, Spain and Croatia most probably will not let Turkey play with the ball and dominate the game, then what will be Turkey's answer to this kind of approach? These two teams have better midfield players than Turkey and more importantly they know how to create enough time and space for each position, which is the key to football. If Turkey cannot create the habitat for their talented midfield players, how come Terim can expect creativity from his players? Turkey are still not aware of the value of possessing the ball and play almost every ball vertically into the opponent's half without a second thought. This not only leaves the forward players alone in the opponent's penalty box, but also creates the risk of losing the ball and struggling to intercept, which would be a real struggle against teams as good as Spain and Croatia.

Lastly, defenders and forward players in Turkey are not good enough for the tournament and suffer from both physical and technical deficiencies. Unlike the team's midfield, Turkish defenders, left back Caner Erkin, right back Gökhan Gönül and stoppers Mehmet Topal and Hakan Balta, do not make a good combination. The full backs of the team, Erkin and Gönül are offensively dangerous players, but they lack the physical and defensive quality to face opponent wingers. In contrast, defenders Topal and Balta have almost no involvement in offensive build ups and make midfield players come unnecessarily deep into their half to build the game, which takes Turkey away from the opponent's penalty box.Furthermore, forward players, Cenk Tosun and Burak Yılmaz are also one-sided players who have completely different styles. Beşiktaş's super-sub Cenk Tosun is built for all-out-attacks where the team continuously presses the opponent and crosses lots of balls into the opponent's penalty box. Burak Yılmaz, on the other hand, needs enough space for through balls and long dribblings. Therefore, both players can be effective when their styles are needed, but most probably Yılmaz will be the main striker. However, without having the right strategy to utilize his physical skills, it is illogical to expect lots of goals from him.

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