Turkey’s Difficult Struggle

MEHMET ALI SÖYLET
ISTANBUL
Published 16.06.2016 19:34
Turkey’s Difficult Struggle

Turkish National Team had started the Euro 2016 tournament with a loss against Croatia. Not only the lost three points but also poor football and lack of concentration gave Turkish fans some worries about the next two games, especially for today's match, against the last Euro Champions, Spain.

Spain, champions of Euro 2008 and 2012, is a very solid team, haven't allowed a goal for 600 minutes in Euro Finals. That's all-time best run in Euro Championship history. Their first game against the Czech Republic was difficult to begin. Spain dominated possession but had to wait until late on to make the breakthrough against Czech backline, who came into the tournament with the worst defensive record of the teams who qualified. An important problem for Spain emerged during the match, they haven't got a forward in their squad who has an air control, like Diego Costa or Fernando Torres, as coach Del Bosque hadn't invited these previous national scorers to Euro 2016. When a central defender, Pique came out and positioned offensive at the last 10 minutes, he had a couple of chances and successfully scored from Iniesta's perfect cross. Spain's traditional pass game was faultless, they created a huge pressure on Czech's defense, the only problem was finishing.

Turkey's troubles were much more than Spain's in their first match against Croatia, as I said before. They couldn't control the ball in Croatia's half, they couldn't develop attacks and they had serious troubles about air balls. In fact, they conceded the goal from one of these air balls because no one could clear the ball out of the dangerous area. For many football spectators, the most problematic point was the center of defense. Fatih Terim continuously uses Mehmet Topal, a defensive midfielder, as a central defender because of Turkey's lack of pyhsically-fit central defenders. Topal had a successful season on his behalf and he is experienced on coming and helping defense of air balls, however, he can't position himself as a defender. Hakan Balta, Terim's other ace central defender, is generally good at high balls but if he can't take enough help from his partner, he can also fluctuate easily. Topal returns to his position, he can make good tackles for starting counter attacks. Apart from that; Turkey's star player, Arda Turan's inability to show his regular performance and another important midfielder Çalhanoğlu's poor efforts should be in Terim's mind. Probably, hot prospect Emre Mor can take one of these two stars' places to bring the ball faster to the Spain's goal and find more chances on the pitch.

Considering these situations, Turkey should take three essential actions against Spain if they want to take at least a draw, like they did against Netherlands and defeated them at qualification round: At the center of defense, real defenders should play more like Ahmet Çalık, so Mehmet Topal can play at his genuine position. Turkey should use fast-breaks and counter attacks, Özyakup or Çalhanoğlu has critical importance to create these fast chances. Last but not least, Burak Yılmaz should play as a forward and they should create through balls behind the defense. Terim is a hard boiled international coach, he experienced every step of that kind of championships. His primary job would be solving the concentration problems of the first match. If these come true, Turkey can have a chance of taking points. If not, another desperate loss won't be a surprise.

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