Spain v Turkey - Expert v Expert Preview

Gerard Pique left it late to bag Spain’s winner in their 1-0 result over Czech Republic in their opening game of Group D. The win, coupled with Turkey’s 1-0 defeat to Croatia, means Spain will qualify for the last-16 with three points in Nice.

The Turks require something special to beat two-time defending European champions Spain after creating just nine goalscoring opportunities to Croatia’s 19 in their first outing.

Football writer Terry Gibson and English speaking Turkish football site @Turkish_Futbol preview the game.


Terry Gibson on Spain: Plenty of thinking for Vicente Del Bosque to do before this game. Does he stick with the same starters and show faith in his original selection or does he make changes? No changes required in goal, defence or in midfield with Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets but it is in attacking areas that Del Bosque will consider if his team showed enough creativity for a side that had 74% possession against the Czech Republic but took 87 minutes to score the only goal of the game. Incidentally through a centre back thrown forward into attack!

Against a packed defence happy to concede possession, Spain do have a tendency to lack dynamism in the most important area of the pitch. Will it be Alvaro Morata leading the line or Artiz Aduriz? Will Cesc Fabregas be replaced by either Koke or Thiago Alcantara, David Silva stays in I would imagine but Pedro is pressurising Nolito for a starting spot. Personally I would go with Morata and Aduriz with Koke and Silva playing narrow in a midfield four alongside Busquets and Iniesta. They would still control the ball in midfield but an extra body in the box could be decisive.

@Turkish_Futbol: Turkey have no injury concerns going into the Spain clash but it is worth noting that Arda Turan looked unfit in the opening game against Croatia. Cenk Tosun and Volkan Sen picked up yellow cards but Fatih Terim will be most concerned with centre-back Hakan Balta getting a second booking considering his problems in defence. Turkey are without the injured Serdar Aziz who pulled out before the tournament and Bayer Leverkusen’s Omer Toprak. The defence is likely to stay the same with defensive midfielder Mehmet Topal keeping his placein the back line.

Despite their problems at the back Turkey have only conceded more than one goal in a single game just once in their last 17 matches. Terim faces a big decision in midfield regarding whether to stick with Ozan Tufan in central midfield after he was lambasted for fixing his hair instead of busting a gut to close down Luka Modric in the lead-up to the winning goal against Croatia. It does seem that Tufan and Selcuk Inan will keep their spot in central midfield based on training sessions in the lead up to the Spain game. Terim does have options and if he does make a surprise it would most likely be Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin making his Euro 2016 debut.

There could be changes in the attacking third. Hakan Calhanoglu and Arda Turan started on the wings against Croatia with Oguzhan Ozyakup as the central attacking midfielder. Burak Yilmaz is expected to start up front replacing Cenk Tosun. The former Galatasaray star will offer Turkey more of an outlet if they are to play counter-attacking football. Terim has also been experimenting with 18-year-old Dortmund youngster Emre Mor and Fenerbahce winger Volkan Sen during training. We could end up seeing one or both of them as Terim will be looking for an injection of pace.


Gibson: Overall a good start from Spain when they have sometimes struggled in the opening game of a major tournament. No shock result and now qualification for the next round should be a formality without too much pressure. In terms of form I wasn't surprised by anything we saw from Spain against the Czech Republic. Nobody was! 

Same style, same issues but we shouldn't underestimate a team going for their third consecutive title. 

@Turkish_Futbol: It was not so much the defeat but the manner of defeat which disappointed most Turkish fans. In addition to being tactically outclassed the star names simply did not perform. Arda Turan looked tired and did not work hard defensively allowing Darijo Srna and Marcelo Brozovic the freedom to use the the flank as a personal motorway. Croatia managed 32 crosses and 46 percent of attacks came down the wing Turan decided he was not going to bother patrolling. Turkey have, however, been able to raise their game against teams considered to be among the world greats. The Crescent-Stars played their best football in the qualification stage against the Dutch, drawing in the Netherlands and winning 3-0 in Turkey.


Gibson: I tipped Iniesta to be the key player in the first game and I wasn't wrong. A man of the match performance from the midfield maestro but in this game I'm going to go for a more attacking option. The difficulty however is that I'm not sure who is going to be selected. The most definite attacking starter will be Silva and he carries a large amount of responsibility in Spain offensive play. He does it with some style though.

@Turkish_Futbol: Arda Turan had an awful game against Croatia but he will still be the man the rest of the team look towards for inspiration. The Turkish national team captain has won almost every trophy at club level and was a member of the class Euro 2008 that made it to the semi-finals. The bearded winger has been directly involved in nine goals in his last 12 games for Turkey and on his day he is capable of magic. Additionally he will also be familiar with the Spanish team, having played alongside or against them for the past few years at Atletico Madrid as well as Barcelona.


Gibson: Despite Turkey losing to Croatia in their opening game the strategy will be no different to any other team facing Spain. Turkey will be happy with a point from this tie and then will look to take their chances with a win against the Czech Republic. So huge possession once again for Spain. Croatia had 19 attempts on goal against Turkey but Turkey probably went into that game thinking it was winnable and adopted a more open approach. Once again I'm going for another shut out for Spain against cautious opponents. One or two near misses for the Czech Republic in game one but there was not too much work needed from De Gea in goal. A clean sheet again for Spain at 1.71.

@Turkish_Futbol: Arda Turan will be desperate to make up for his poor performance in the first game. Expect him to work harder and get forward more. Turan has been involved in nine goals in his last 12 games for Turkey and likes to shoot from range. There is value on Over 0.5 shots on target at 2.40 for the fiery winger.


Gibson: I went for Ramos in the first game to get the decisive goal and I was nearly right! Pique got there just before him. I'm opting for left-back Jordi Alba in this match, the attacking full-back recently scored against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final for Barcelona and seeing as he spends most of his game playing in the left wing position I think he is well worth a long shot as first goalscorer at 22.00.

@Turkish_Futbol: Emre Mor was the only bright spark in the first game and considering Turkey could do with extra pace Fatih Terim may just risk the youngster. The 18-year-old could provide the attacking spark the team needs and could be worth taking a punt on to score at 11.50.


Gibson: Spain 2-0 Turkey at 6.30.

@Turkish_Futbol: Turkey 1-1 Spain at 8.50