Euro 2016: Spain vs Turkey - Match prediction and head to head record
Can Spain keep their winning streak intact?
Spain face Turkey in a Group D fixture on Friday at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice. La Roja will look to maintain their 52-year undefeated record against the Turks and book a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament. It will be a must win game for Turkey in Euro 2016 as another defeat would virtually send them packing. Turkey have already suffered a defeat in their opening game against Croatia whereas Spain registered a less than convincing win over the Czech Republic.
Inspite of creating many chances and expectedly dominating in terms of possession in their opening game against the Czechs, Vincente del Bosque’s men lacked the cutting-edge as they had to rely on an 87th-minute header from Gerard Pique to seal the victory.
Spain’s defensive frailties were visible in the first few minutes of the match but their passing quickly clicked in and they took control of the game. Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech had to be on his feet as Spain kept attacking Czech Republic’s goal. Spain’s poor finishing threatened to punish them at the hour mark as Cesc Fabregas’ goal line clearance saved them from some unwanted blushes.
They were finally able to break the deadlock with three minutes remaining as Iniesta produced a wonderful cross from the left flank which was headed in by Barcelona defender Pique.
Turkey come into the game following an underwhelming performance in their opening match, which they lost 1-0 to Croatia. The one-goal scoreline hardly does justice to a game which was totally dominated by the Croatians.
Fatih Terim’s men had less than half the attempts on goal made by their opponents. They could have easily been three goals down following Luka Modric’s sensational strike but the crossbar came to their rescue. Captain Arda Turan will have to step up if Turkey are to have a chance of winning against the defending champions.
Head to Head
Turkey have registered only one win in 10 games against Spain, drawing 4 and losing 5. Their last win came in a World cup qualifier in Istanbul back in March 1954; defeating the Spanish 1-0.
Spain have conceded only once in their last six matches versus Turkey, however, that goal did come in their last meeting (2009 - 2-1). This will be the first time that the two countries meet in the finals of a major tournament.
La Roja remain unbeaten in the Euros since their defeat to Portugal in 2004. They have not conceded even once in 600 minutes in the European Championships, the longest run in the tournament’s entire history.
In sharp contrast, Turkey have managed only 3 wins in their last 13 games in the tournament but have improved on their position each time they have qualified; they were knocked out in the group stages in 1996 before reaching the quarter-finals in 2000 and the semis in 2008.
Spain’s coach Vincent del Bosque, while speaking to UEFA.com, warned that their opponents cannot be underestimated: “The important thing is that we got the three points in the first game, and we need to prepare for this game without being distracted by the first one. We also have to approach this game expecting Turkey to make it really difficult for us.” He also added: “They are a great team who play great football – they have great players and we have to prepare ourselves for the difficulties they will pose us.”
Fatih Terim, Turkey’s coach, has said that his team won’t hold back and just defend to play out a draw: “You can't just go and play Spain without trying to actually play. If you just try to defend and close the game down, they will eventually open it up.” The 62-year-old also said that fans can expect a much better display from Turkey: “It[loss to Croatia] upset us all. There was no reaction after conceding and that isn't good. We will look more like the Turkish team we really are against Spain. Rest assured, it will be different.”
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Spain are bound to improve on their performance against the Czech Republic, and with Turkey’s weak defence, should score at least two goals. Turkey’s attack looked dismal last week, with their striker Cenk Tosun only being able to hit the target once. The Turks are unlikely to open up Spain’s resolute defence let alone beat David de Gea in the goal.
Our prediction is that Spain will win the game with a scoreline of 2-0.