With the COVID-delayed Euro 2020 just weeks away, veteran Turkey coach Şenol Güneş will be looking to repeat the success of his 2002 World Cup campaign, in which he led the Turkish national football team to a stunning third-place finish.
Led by influential captain Burak Yılmaz, who had a brilliant season with French side Lille, Turkey goes into the campaign with a mix of youth and experience.
The balance seems to work as it grabbed wins against the Netherlands and Norway in World Cup qualifiers this year.
The 68-year-old Güneş has been back at the helm since 2019, having previously been in charge from 2000 to 2004, and achieved Euro 2020 qualification after a dismal Nations League campaign in which Turkey came bottom of League B with one win.
In the Euro 2020 qualifiers, Turkey finished second behind France but above Iceland, Albania, Andorra and Moldova.
In a news conference last weekend, Güneş did not seem too optimistic about Turkey's chances at the finals in Group A, where its plays Italy in the opening game on June 11 followed by Wales five days later and Switzerland on June 20.
"All our rivals are above us in the FIFA rankings," Güneş said. "If I was looking from outside, I'd say Italy would top the group with the other three teams fighting for the second spot."
Born and raised in Turkey's Black Sea coast city of Trabzon, Güneş played for the local team for over a decade and won six championships. Trabzonspor later named their stadium after him.
In Güneş's first stint he took Turkey to the greatest achievement in their history, a third-place finish at the 2002 World Cup and won UEFA's Coach of the Year award.
After carrying Lille to its first Ligue 1 title in 10 years, the Turkish trio Yılmaz, Yusuf Yazıcı and Zeki Çelik will look to carry their club success onto the international stage.
Yılmaz and attacking midfielder Yazıcı spearheaded Lille's attack this season, with 32 goals between them in all competitions, while Çelik has played an important role at right back with 34 appearances and four goals.
The 35-year-old Yılmaz has flourished since joining Lille in August and has been their top scorer with 17 goals in all competitions.
"He's calm and determined. He's like an eagle, ready to strike," former Lille player Francois Brisson said of Yılmaz. "He makes me think of (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic. Those guys, as long as they play, will be leaders."
The 24-year-old Yazıcı, on the other hand, emerged from Trabzonspor's youth academy before leaving the Black Sea town to join Lille in August 2019 on a five-year deal for 16.5 million euros ($20.09 million), the biggest in the Turkish club's history.
Yazıcı has scored 14 times for Lille in 40 appearances this season, including Europa League hat tricks against Sparta Prague and AC Milan. He made his senior debut for the Turkish national team in June 2017 and has 30 caps.
While the attacking Turkish duo has created headlines in France this season, it was defender Çelik who was the first among them to arrive at Lille in July 2018.
The 24-year-old right back began his career at his hometown club Bursaspor in northwest Turkey but had only just joined the youth academy when the club won the Turkish Süper Lig in 2010.
He first represented Turkey in 2018 and has 19 caps, scoring two goals in a friendly against Uzbekistan in 2019. He started seven of Turkey's eight qualifying matches for Euro 2020.
Turkey exited Euro 2016 at the group stage but will look for inspiration from their third-place finish at Euro 2008.
Only three players from Euro 2016 are still in the squad.
Güneş often deploys a 4-4-2 formation with a defensive midfielder in front of the backline. Hakan Çalhanoğlu is usually at the top of a midfield diamond as the creative force.
Yılmaz is one of two players to have played for all of Turkey's big four clubs – Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor. He is Turkey's leading active scorer and the second highest in their history, with 28 goals in 66 appearances.
Yılmaz is expected to take the main striking position as he did in World Cup qualifying, with an attacking trident of Kenan Karaman on the left and Yılmaz's Lille teammate, Yazıcı, or Leicester City's Cengiz Ünder on the right.
Another of Turkey's strengths is in the middle of the defense, with Leicester's Çağlar Söyüncü, Liverpool's Ozan Kabak and Juventus' Merih Demiral fighting for a starting spot.
The weakest position in Turkey's team seems to be at left back, with Fenerbahçe's 32-year-old Caner Erkin left out of the squad after being capped 59 times.
Güneş said it was the hardest decision he had to make while picking his 30-man provisional squad but Erkin's recent performances had been underwhelming.
Turkey is set to play warm-up friendlies against Azerbaijan and Moldova. A third friendly with Northern Ireland was called off, Güneş said, but instead, a match against Malta is likely.
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