Defending champions Spain take on Turkey in a Group D clash on Friday, hoping to take control of the group that also comprises of Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Spain scraped through a ‘minimum win’, as it is called back home, in their opener against Czech Republic courtesy of a late goal by Gerard Pique. However, the scoreline did not reflect their performance, with Vicente del Bosque’s men playing with confidence and fluency right from the whistle. The World and European Championship winning manager will be hoping that his side do not leave things so late this time around and seal the qualification to the next round should the Croats beat the Czechs.
Turkey on the other hand lost out by the same margin against Croatia, with the Turkish manager admitting that his side have work to do and were second best throughout the game. Turkey did create some good chances, before Luka Modric struck for Croatia, and will hope that Lady luck does shine upon them this time around or they will find themselves on the verge of elimination.
Team News & Tactical Brief
Spain played a familiar 4-3-3 formation, with David Silva and Nolito flanking Chelsea and Manchester United target Alvaro Morata in the centre forward role. Vicente Del Bosque is expected to stick to the same line-up that showed great maturity and calmness despite missing a host of chances to break the deadlock, with Pedro likely to come in for Nolito as the only change.
David De Gea was preferred to Iker Casillas and Del Bosque is expected to continue with the Manchester United star in the goal.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Juanfran, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas; Silva, Pedro, Morata.
Fatih Terim’s men face an uphill task if they are to remain in the European Championship. They lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for their clash against Croatia and are expected to make a few changes to the side due to injury concerns in the defence.
Gokhan Gonul and Mehmet Topal are both doubtful for the tie, with Semih Kaya and Sener Ozbayrakli likely to take their place.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Babacan; Ozbayrakli, Kaya, Balta, Erkin; Ozyakup, Inan; Mor, Calhanoglu, Turan; Yilmaz.
- Spain have won and kept 9 clean sheets in each of their last 9 Euro ties.
- Turkey have won only 3 of their last 13 games against Spain.
- Spain are unbeaten for 52 years against Turkey
- Turkey last beat Spain in the 1954 World Cup Qualifiers with a 1-0 scoreline
Man to watch out for
Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Barcelona star Andres Iniesta had a superb game against the Czechs, completing 85 out of 92 attempted passes and also assisting Gerrard Pique’s winner.
The humble midfielder was billed as the star-man for Spain and is not failing in the expectation bestowed upon himself so far.
He is expected to play a pivotal role if Spain are to do well in the competition and Vicente Del Bosque will be hoping that Iniesta continues the same form he showed against the Czechs when they meet Turkey.
Spain 3-0 Turkey
Spain had two teams in the UEFA Champions League final, from which a majority of their squad has been drawn. The remaining ones are largely from Barcelona, a team that beat both the European Champions League finalists to the domestic title.
With this sort of quality at Del Bosque’s disposal, the maturity and calmness they showed when they comfortably beat Czech Republic, and a defence that has kept 9 clean sheets in a row in the competition, any other result except a comfortable Spanish win will come as a big surprise. This could be the game that Spain announces itself on the world stage with a bang, once again.