12 June – Croatia (2pm GMT Parc des Princes, Paris)
Turkey have hopes of continuing their recent record at major tournaments after a rocky road to France. Livio Caferoglu assesses their chances.
What a difference one month can make. As Turkey headed into the final lap of their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign they faced another tournament no-show, burdened by talk of the country’s football finding itself in a state of emergency. That was swiftly replaced by celebrations of a third European Championship under Fatih Terim, and optimism for the national team’s future as the pair rallied to topple Netherlands in Group A.
Coach: Fatih Terim – Known as the Emperor in his native Turkey due to his iron-fisted approach, Fatih – who was even awarded an Italian knighthood for his successful half-season with Fiorentina in 2000-01 – is now in his third spell as Coach of the Crescent-Stars.
Preferred XI: Volkan; Gonul, Topal, Serdar, Caner; Selcuk, Ozan; Calhanoglu, Ozyakup, Arda; Burak.
A 4-2-3-1 formation sees an experienced back four guarding Volkan Babacan, a late bloomer between the sticks after his namesake Volkan Demirel walked out on the team before a Euro 2016 qualifier, while two midfield pivots look to anchor a front four bursting with flair, spearheaded by the prolific Burak Yilmaz – once a Lazio target.
Look out for: A disciple of Rinus Michels and his Total Football philosophy, Fatih teams – in the 62-year-old’s own words – tend to play a high-pressing game and try to take the match into their opponents’ half. Although they won’t be quite as gung-ho as their line-up suggests, there will be no shortage of energy in Turkey’s approach, the side very much a microcosm of their captain Arda Turan.
Did you know?
…Romania P 25 W 5 D 7 L 13 F 24 A 47
…Spain P 10 W 1 D 4 L 5 F 5 A 14
…Czech Republic P9 W3 D1 L5 F11 A20
Nickname: Ay Yıldızlılar (Crescent-Stars)
Calcio fans might remember: Hakan Sukur - Torino (1995), Inter (2000-2001), Parma (2002)
Top Division: Super Lig
FIFA World Ranking: 13
International honours: None
Most capped player: Rustu Recber (120)
Leading international scorer: Hakan Sukur (51)
Turkey at the European Championships:
1960 – Did not qualify
1964 – Did not qualify
1968 – Did not qualify
1972 – Did not qualify
1976 – Did not qualify
1980 – Did not qualify
1984 – Did not qualify
1988 – Did not qualify
1992 – Did not qualify
1996 – Group stage
2000 – Quarter-finals
2004 – Did not qualify
2008 – Semi-finals
2012 – Did not qualify
How they got to Euro 2016: After just two wins in their first seven Group A matches, an unexpected rally between September and October of last year saw the Crescent-Stars pick up maximum points in their final three games to reach France as the best third-placed team overall.