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Turkey: The Ultimate Euro 2020 Preview

Appearing at consecutive European Championships for the first time in history, Turkey enter Euro 2020 as one of the dark horses. The Crescent-Stars have dazzled and frustrated in equal measure in the last 12 months, winning competitive games against the Netherlands and Russia but failing to beat Latvia or Hungary.

Turkey have the honour of opening the long-awaited tournament against former champions Italy on Friday 11th June and are joined in a very open group A by Wales and Switzerland.

Group A: TURKEY, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Captain: Burak Yılmaz

Head Coach: Şenol Güneş

FIFA Ranking: 29

Best Finish: Semi Finals (2008)


TURKEY v Italy – 11 June, 20:00 (BST). Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy.

TURKEY v Wales – 16 June, 17:00 (BST). Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Switzerland v TURKEY – 20 June, 17:00 (BST). Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan.


The Crescent-Stars progressed through Group H of qualifying in second place, behind reigning World Champions France. Turkey managed to avoid defeat in both of their encounters with Les Bleus; even beating them at home, but managed only one point from their two games against Iceland, who progressed to the Nations League play-offs by virtue of their third place finish. Albania, Andorra and Moldova completed the group.


Goalkeepers: Altay Bayındır (Fenerbahçe), Uğurcan Çakır (Trabzonspor), Mert Günok (İstanbul Başakşehir)

Defenders: Kaan Ayhan (Sassuolo), Zeki Çelik (LOSC Lille), Merih Demiral (Juventus), Ozan Kabak (Liverpool), Umut Meraş (Le Havre), Mert Müldür (Sassuolo), Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester), Rıdvan Yılmaz (Beşiktaş)

Midfielders: Taylan Antalyalı (Galatasaray), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (AC Milan), Halil Dervişoğlu (Brentford), İrfan Can Kahveci (Fenerbahçe), Orkun Kökçü (Feyenoord), Abdülkadir Ömür (Trabzonspor), Dorukhan Toköz (Beşiktaş), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahçe), Okay Yokuşlu (West Brom)

Forwards: M. Kerem Aktürkoğlu (Galatasaray), Kenan Karaman (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Enes Ünal (Getafe), Cengiz Ünder (Leicester), Yusuf Yazıcı (LOSC Lille), Burak Yılmaz (LOSC Lille)

Source: UEFA.com.

Danger Man – Burak Yılmaz

A seasoned veteran at the age of 35, Burak Yılmaz will spearhead Turkey’s attack in serious form. A title winner in the Süper Lig with Galatasaray and a Cup champion from spells at Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor, you could’ve been forgiven for thinking that Yılmaz’s career was waningin 2016 when he moved to Chinese side Beijing Guoan.

That proved not to be the case and he returned to Turkey not long after, before a move to French club Lille where he sensationally helped Les Dogues to the Ligue 1 title this season.

He scored his first international hat-trick in a memorable 4-2 win over Netherlands earlier this year and is a sure starter come the tournament opener against Italy.

One to watch – Cengiz Ünder

23-year-old Ünder goes into the European Championships with a point to prove after an underwhelming season on loan at Leicester City. The Roma winger has been linked with Arsenal since the season finished and will no doubt be looking to impress new Roma boss Jose Mourinho.

Premier League Representation

Leicester’s Çağlar Söyüncü is the only member of the squad that is with a Premier League club on a permanent deal, though Ünder, Okay Yokuşlu and Ozan Kabak all spent time on loan with Premier League clubs in 2020/21, with Leicester, West Brom and Liverpool respectively. All three appear unlikely to be signed by those clubs on a permanent deal this summer.

Route to the Final

  1. If Turkey top the group, they will play the team who finishes second in Group C (Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia)
  2. If Turkey finish second, they will face the team who finish second in Group B (Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia)
  3. If they finish as one of the four best third place teams, they will play the winner of either Group B, E or F.

After the second round, the draw will depend on which third place teams qualified for the knockout stages.


  • Turkey have lost their opening match in all four of their previous appearances at the European Championships.
  • Cenk Tosun’s five goals was the most of any Turkish player in qualifying, but he will miss the tournament through injury.
  • Turkey have never beaten their first opponents, Italy (4 draws, 9 losses).

Sam Hanys

A miserable Ipswich Town fan.

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