Turkey played their first ever international match in Eskisehir’s New Stadium in a friendly against Moldova. Goals from Emre Mor, Ahmet Calik and Cengiz Under decided the outcome as the only response from the visitors arrived on 90 minute from Radu Ginsari.
Turkey coach Fatih Terim started only two regulars in today 11 – Mor and captain Oguzhan Ozyakup as the remaining nine were a mix of reserves and newcomers.
He deployed his players in 4-2-3-1 as playing compact, spreading wide and closing down the opponents was the goal.
Terim decided to rely on youth as this match was a perfect chance to prove their worth. Mor, Under and Calik also scored their first for the national side. Guray Vural made his first appearance at the age of 28 which proves it is never too late. Serdar Gurler debuted and Caglar Soyuncu made his third appearance.
The future is bright for Turkish soccer. Once these youngsters are trusted enough to be given more playing time, good results are expected.
Currently, Turkey sits in fourth place with eight points, level with Ukraine, two behind Iceland and four behind Croatia. With home matches scheduled against Iceland and Croatia, climbing into the top two is possible. Their toughest match besides those two will be the visit to the Ukraine. If Turkey can manage three points there, qualifying at least for a playoff spot is likely.
One key to overcoming the challenge of the top teams in Group I is to learn from their previous mistakes.
Turkey tied 1-1 in Croatia which is the only game in which the hosts dropped points or allowed a goal. Turkey could build on that at home, but they also have to stop allowing Croatia from freely pass the ball and create chances. It was a lucky draw.
Ukraine had a 2-0 lead in Turkey before the hosts scored a brace to salvage a draw. The visitors capitalized on a couple of midfield/defensive errors on that day. If Turkey goes down by two away, climbing back will not be nearly as simple. Playing a defensive match to looking to hit on the counter with some good possession will be the best way to win.
Iceland defeated Turkey quite easily at home by a score of 2-0. Turkey defeated Iceland on home ground in 2015 to cement their place in EURO 2016. This could happen again with quicker passing, youth, skill and better defense as the visitors will most likely deploy a 4-4-2 setup which at times is flatter than it should be. One through-ball or cross to end them.
Always sticking to the 4-2-3-1 is not the best option as changing formations mid-game is a good decision as it could thwart the game plan of the opponent. Terim is not known for doing so but it is never too late to better oneself in this beautiful sport.