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EURO 2016: SPOTLIGHT ON TURKEY

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Turkey make a return to major footballing tournaments after an eight-year absence. However, the last time they did make a major tournament they were on fire, reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2008 and only losing 3-2 to Germany, thanks to a late winner from Philip Lahm. Their last World Cup appearance was as far back as 2002, so major tournaments have been a rare treat for the Turks.

The Mediterranean country has produced some fantastic footballers in the last couple of years, especially midfielders. The trio of Arda Turan-Hakan Çalhanoğu-Nuri Şahin can stand being compared to nearly any midfield in the tournament. Otherwise the squad doesn't contain many familiar names, as most of their players ply their trade in the top division of Turkey.

Turkey reached the tournament as the best 3rd-placed side out of the qualifying groups. Their preliminary squad is huge, as it contains the names of 31 players. This means that eight players from the squad will have to miss out on the trip to France this summer.

PREVIEW AND ASSESSMENT

Turkey reached the finals as the best third-placed team of the qualifiers. They won five and drew three out of their ten qualifying matches with a goal difference of 14-9. Turkey are the least-scoring team in the qualifiers who reached the finals in France this summer. 

Turkey have managed to assemble a rather good and potential team for the Euros, but their problem is that other teams in group D have done the same, possibly even better. With Spain, Croatia and The Czech Republic all in their group progression to the knockout stages isn't a given. Third place is achievable, but even then they'd have to finish as one of the four best third-placed sides.

However, Turkey have shown in recent tournaments that they shouldn't be underestimated. In 2008 in particular they were particularly good, and if they pick up form they have the potential to go far. On paper Croatia are slightly better, but against the Czechs Turkey have the edge in terms of quality. They also defeated them 2-0 in the penultimate qualifying game.

Thanks to their solid defending and strong midfield the Turks will most likely just scrape through to the knockout stages in third place.

Assessment: Third in group D. Will progress as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Betting Tip: Will get eliminated in the first round of the knockout stages: 2/1 Betsafe

It promises to be yet another epic battle for the title of European Champions! Check out the favourites and best odds from this link!

TURKEY'S MOST LIKELY STARTING ELEVEN

Goalkeeper: Babacan 

Defenders: Erkin, Topal, Balta, Özbayrakli

Midfielders: Inan, Çalhanoğu, Malli, Özyakup, Turan

Forward: Yilmaz

Key Player: Arda Turan, Barcelona

Transferred to Barcelona in the summer of 2015 for 40 million euros, Turan is without a doubt Turkey's biggest star. Known as the "Turkish Messi", the 29-year old midfielder only managed to get started at the Catalans in January 2016 due to Barcelona's transfer ban. He failed to cement a place in the starting eleven and ended the season with only 9 La Liga starts. However, the fiery Turan will have a chance to prove his worth at Euro 2016, and he'll be the man firing Turkey on if they're to progress from the group stages.

Who'll win the Golden Boot at Euro 2016? Check out the best odds from this link!

TURKEY'S SQUAD FOR EURO 2016

Goalkeepers:

Harun Tekin (Bursaspor)

Onur Kıvrak (Trabzonspor)

Volkan Babacan (İstanbul Başakşehir)

Defenders:

Gökhan Gönül (Fenerbahçe)

Şener Özbayraklı (Fenerbahçe)

Ahmet Çalık (Gençlerbirliği)

Hakan Balta (Galatasaray)

Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahçe)

Semih Kaya (Galatasaray)

Caner Erkin (Fenerbahçe)

İsmail Köybaşı (Beşiktaş)

Midfielders:

Emre Mor (Nordsjælland)

Volkan Şen (Fenerbahçe)

Hakan Çalhanoğu (Bayer Leverkusen)

Nuri Şahin (Borussia Dortmund)

Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş)

Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahçe)

Selçuk İnan (Galatasaray)

Arda Turan (Barcelona)

Olcay Şahan (Beşiktaş)

Forwards:

Burak Yılmaz (Beijing Guoan)

Cenk Tosun (Beşiktaş)

Yunus Mallı (Mainz)

Manager: Fatih Terim

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