Mark O’Haire’s Euro Tips – Czech Rep v Turkey
Czech Republic and Turkey lock horns on Tuesday night knowing a win is essential if either nation has designs on reaching the knockout stages of Euro 2016.
Czech Republic v Turkey, Tuesday 21st June 20.00, ITV4
With just one point between the pair, a stalemate is unlikely to suffice in Lens. With Croatia and Spain sealing the top two places in Group D, we should be treated to an entertaining shootout with progression to the knockout stages on the line.
Czech Republic and Turkey have recent head-to-head history; the duo met in the same qualifying group for Euro 2016, when the respective away side won both meetings. On neutral turf, the Czechs have been chalked up as 7/5 favourites with Turkey 2/1 to conclude their campaign with a victory.
Czech Republic snatched a point against Croatia in their last outing, deep into stoppage-time. Having struggled to contain the Croats and mount any sort of response, the Czechs somehow escaped with a share of the spoils.
The Lions failed to land a single effort on-target in the first-half whilst facing 10. Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic had given Croatia a 2-0 lead but the Czechs hit back through Milan Skoda’s header before Tomas Necid smashed in a penalty for handball in the 93rd minute.
The fightback occurred amidst fighting and flare-throwing from the Croatian support, causing the Saint-Etienne encounter to be held up on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, head coach Pavel Vrba is determined to see the positives in his team’s display and has promised an all-out attacking approach here.
Vrba said, “We’ll play for everything in the last match. It wasn’t going well, but we’ve given ourselves a spark of hope to get out of the group.”
Meanwhile, Turkey were victims of a masterful Spain performance in Nice when going down 3-0. It’s been the standout display of the competition thus far, as La Roja became the first team to score more than twice in a Euro 2016 match.
The Crescent Stars found it impossible to suppress their opponents with Spain’s one-touch, fluid football dominant and, at times, unplayable.
Turkey had been heavily criticised for their poor display in their opening loss to Croatia, and the match against Spain unfolded as many had predicted. Fatih Terim’s men were unable to live with the defending champions and failed to fire.
Terim had named an attacking line-up, choosing Burak Yilmaz, the top scorer in their squad with 20 international goals, but there was little Turkey could do without the ball and they wasted the opportunities they did have – Burak and Olcay Sahan should have done better when in good positions – leaving Turkey to end the match without a single shot-on-target.
Head coach Terim and captain Arda Turan were heavily criticised following the Croatian loss and midway through the second half, Crescent Stars supporters booed Turan again. With Hakan Calhanoglu also struggling to find his feet, fans have grown frustrated.
But Turkey should find more space and opportunities in their final fixture.
Although anything but a convincing win is likely to be enough to earn a spot in the Last-16, Terim and his troops will know a good showing is essential. Against an ageing and unimpressive Czech defence, the Crescent Stars should be capable of making a positive impact here.
Attack, Attack, Attack
Czech Republic failed to keep a single clean sheet during qualifying and they’ve actually recorded just one shutout in their last 24 internationals -a friendly against Malta. A huge 17 of those fixtures have featured at least three goals and with both sides needing to pick up maximum points, we’ll hopefully see plenty of attacking football in Lens.
Over 2.5 Goals is available at 11/10 and that looks an ideal angle to take. Neither side are at all convincing defensively whilst the final group games of European Championships since 1992 have seen Over 2.5 land in 59% of matches – as opposed to 36% in the first and second matches.
Over 2.5 Goals @ 11/10
*Prices correct at time of publication.