Sam WattTurkey vs France, Saturday, June 8th, 19:45, Konya Buyuksehir Belediyesi Stadium. Both World Cup holders France and hosts Turkey are looking to make it three wins out of three in their Euro 2020 qualification group when they meet on Saturday, but someone’s 100% record has to give.
Both World Cup holders France and hosts Turkey are looking to make it three wins out of three in their Euro 2020 qualification group when they meet on Saturday, but someone’s 100% record has to give.
Didier Deschamps’ France have made a perfect start in their attempt to reach Euro 2020, putting four goals past both Moldova and Iceland and conceding only one in reply. With Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe all scoring on both games, there’s no shortage of firepower available to Les Bleus.
France’s flawless record isn’t much of a shock but Turkey standing neck and neck with Deschamps’ side is somewhat less expected. The Crescent Stars, led by the experienced Senol Gunes, have won their first two as well, and they also put four past Moldova. It’s only goal difference that sees France top of the group as the countries meet after Turkey opened with a 2-0 win in Albania.
Gunes might not have the star names of his French counterpart but there’s no shortage of talent either – Burak Yilmaz and Cenk Tosun are both sources of goals and Hakan Calhanoglu is a dangerous midfield option. There’s also plenty of experience too, as Emre Belozoglu, now 38, is in line for his 100th cap if he appears against France.
There will also be the usual hostile atmosphere as France go to Konya, a city to the south of the capital, Ankara. And while the individuals in the France squad will have played in front of boisterous home supporters before, France haven’t played in Turkey since 2000. Indeed, the countries haven’t met at all since a 2009 friendly, won by France through a Karim Benzema penalty after Ibrahim Uzulmez was sent off.
A draw would keep Group H alive, even at this early stage, but France should be too strong. Deschamps has a squad the envy of most other nations in world football, and whether he looks to use Giroud as a burly target man, or counter-attack with Mbappe’s pace, the visitors should triumph.
They might not rack up another four goals but regardless, it should be comfortable. Look for a 2-0 France win as Les Bleus march on towards Euro 2020.
Turkey are no minnows but France have a robust defence to combat the likes of Yilmaz and Tosun. Relevant bookmakers will keep that in mind – particularly the Clasico partnership of Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, if Deschamps goes with that paring. Unibet price France to win to nil – Yes at 13/10.
Both teams tend to spread their goals out between each half, suggesting that Turkey will start strong even if they don’t find the back of the net. But eventually, France’s quality will tell. Unibet price the half time draw and France win at full time at 17/5.
Head To Head
Turkey and France have met only four times, and not since 2009.
The only time they’ve met in a competitive fixture was the 2003 Confederations Cup. France qualified as both winners of Euro 2000 and hosts of the next World Cup in 2004, leaving a vacancy.
Italy were asked as runners-up of Euro 2000 but declined, as did World Cup 2002 runners-up Germany and Spain, who were invited as the nation standing second in the FIFA World Rankings.
Turkey, third place at the 2002 World Cup, accepted. They qualified from a group also containing Brazil but got no further as they lost 3-2 to France, but did beat Colombia to clinch another third place.
Tosun, Mbappe, Griezmann and Giroud have each scored two goals in as many qualification fixtures.
Turkey have yet to concede a goal in Euro 2020 qualification.
Deschamps’ France squad has only two outfield players aged over 30 – Blaise Matuidi and Giroud, both 32.
Both countries follow up this fixture with an away game – France meet neighbouring minnows Andorra, while Turkey go to Iceland.
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