Euro 2016 Group D

Turkey

12 June – Croatia (2pm GMT Parc des Princes, Paris)
17 June – Spain (8pm GMT Allianz Riviera, Nice)
21 June – Czech Republic (8pm GMT Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)

Turkey have hopes of continuing their recent record at major tournaments after a rocky road to France. Livio Caferoglu assesses their chances.

Crescent-Stars ready to shine

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?

  • Turkey faced Czech Republic in the Euro 2008 group stage, winning 3-2 to reach the knockout stages of the competition.
  • The Crescent-Stars can boast having a Barcelona player among their party in Arda Turan.
  • Turkey’s last three European Championships (1996, 2000 and 2008) saw them finish in the group stage, quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

Turkey versus…

…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

Stats

Population: 74.9m
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.