Sunday, 12 June 2016

Turkey vs Croatia Euro 2016 qualifying Football Match Preview - June 12, 2016


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Defender Serdar Aziz was left out of Turkey's squad because of injury, while Gokhan Tore was dropped as he is suspended for their first two games.

The Turks are likely to deploy either Burak Yilmaz or Cenk Tosun as their lone striker.

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was left out of Croatia's squad, as was Barcelona's teenage midfielder Alen Halilovic.

Juventus' Mario Mandzukic will start up front in the Croats' 4-2-3-1 formation.

Turkey have lost all three of their previous opening games at European Championship finals and have only ever beaten Croatia on penalties (at Euro 2008) but Fatih Terim's men can draw on one positive omen ahead of their first match.

The Turks have improved on their previous performance at each of their European Championship appearances; they were knocked out in the group stage in 1996 before reaching the quarter-finals in 2000 and the semi-finals in 2008.

Croatia, meanwhile, may take inspiration from a return to the scene of their greatest achievement. They finished third at the 1998 World Cup in France - beating the Dutch 2-1 in the third-place play-off at the Parc des Princes, the venue for Sunday's game.

Long-serving captain Darijo Srna says the current squad is the best Croatian team in history, at least on paper. With key midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric regulars for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, and striker Mario Mandzukic playing for Italian champions Juventus, there is certainly plenty of pedigree in Ante Cacic's team.

Head-to-head

The sides have met six times before, with Croatia winning twice and four games ending drawn. That includes a quarter-final at Euro 2008 which the Turks subsequently won on penalties.
The only other encounter at a major tournament was at Euro 96, when Goran Vlaovic scored the winner as the Croats won 1-0 at the City Ground in Nottingham.
Croatia also prevailed in a two-legged play-off during Euro 2012 qualification, winning 3-0 on aggregate (3-0 away, 0-0 at home).

Turkey

Turkey have lost all three of their opening games at European Championships.
The Turks have scored eight times in their last four matches at European Championship finals.
Turkey's Emre Mor, 18, is the third-youngest player at Euro 2016, behind Portugal's Renato Sanches and England's Marcus Rashford.
They are unbeaten in eight competitive games (W5, D3) - since a 2-1 home defeat by the Czech Republic in October 2014.

Croatia

Croatia have lost just one of their last six group games at the European Championship (W4, D1).
Mario Mandzukic scored three of Croatia's four goals at Euro 2012.
Ivan Rakitic created 35 chances during Euro 2016 qualifying - second only to Belgium's Kevin de Bruyne (37).

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