Competition: International Friendly
Fixture: England v Turkey
Date: Sunday, May 22, 2016
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Kick off time: 5:15 pm, local time
With UEFA Euro Cup just a few weeks away, the leading teams across Europe are gearing up for the football bonanza. The countdown to the tournament starts on Sunday, as England play host to Turkey in a friendly match.
England’s form: W-L-W-W-L
Roy Hodgson has got his work cut out for the coming few weeks, as he has to finalize the 23 man squad for the Euro Cup and decide on the starting XI. The three Lions last played Netherlands in a friendly fixture, where they lost the match by 2-1. They had incurred a similar defeat at the hands of Spain too, in a similar setting. However, they have also gathered a couple of impressive victories against France and Germany, whom they defeated by 2-0 and 3-2 respectively.
Their campaign in the qualifiers for the Euro Cup was particularly impressive, having gone unbeaten throughout. However, given that they had a relatively easier group with the likes of Switzerland, Slovenia and San Marino playing with them, it is of no surprise to see them do so well.
England’s last major silverware came in 1966, when they won the World Cup. Their best performance in the European Championship was recorded in 1996, when they finished at the third place. As for the last season, they reached the quarter-final, before losing to Italy on penalites.
This time around, they have got themselves a pretty strong squad which is capable of going the distance. However, they still need work done in the midfield, especially with the inconsistency of Jack Wilshere and Fabian Delph.
Turkey’s form: W-W-D-W-W
Turkey haven’t been defeated since 2014, when they lost to Brazil by 4-1 in a friendly match. Since then, they have maintained an impressive winning streak which is yet to broken. Fatih Terim’s men last played Sweden and Austria, whom they defeated by 2-1.
Even in the European Qualifications, they did a splendid job as they managed to qualify for their first major tournament in eight years. Despite being handed a tricky group with Czech Republic, Netherlands and Iceland playing side by side, they finished third in the table. After starting out on a shaky note, they found their rhythm and managed to overcome all odds to reach the main tournament.
However, it will be certainly intriguing to see how far they can go. If they can repeat their performances from their match against the Holland here, then they do have a fighting chance. This friendly fixture against a much superior team is just what they need, in order to analyze their squads better and eventually, figuring out the suitable starting XI.
Key Players and Team News:
England: They will be missing the lads from Manchester United – Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Chris Smalling, who are involved in a FA match right before the game. Despite that, they still have the upper hand here, with the presence of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane in the attacking line-up. The duo have had a terrific season with Leicester and Tottenham respectively, and they are sure to carry on the same momentum further. Vardy’s incredible goal scoring streak is certainly a huge boost for the forwards, as the pressure on them to perform is relatively less.
With Gary Cahill set to miss the match due to a minor injury, Dele Alli has been asked to step up in his absence by the coach.
Turkey: Seeing that their squad for the Euro Cup has names which have experience of playing mainly in the country’s domestic league, they will be a step behind when it comes to facing the big guns. Hopes will be on Selcuk Inan and Burak Yilmaz, who have been the goal scorers for the country in their previous few matches.
Nuri Sahin has been brought into the side after having an injury plagued year. The Borussia Dortmund player had to wait for a year before making his debut in this year’s season. His lack of form may spell further troubles for Turkey. However, he will be supported by Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, who has had a decent season with side.
To make things more difficult for them, they have also been dealt a major blow with the absence of Arda Turan for this crucial fixture, as the Barcelona midfielder is committed in a cup tie for his club.
England’s players are in a much better form than their opponents. With all their bases well covered by experienced players, it will be difficult for the visitors to find the net. They are sure to win at 1.44. You can also expect Harry Kane to score a goal at any point in the match at the odds of 2.25.