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EURO 2020 inside track: Turkey

UEFA.com's Turkey reporter Görkem Kırgız talks tactics, key players, and recalls a thrilling 2008 campaign.

Meet the teams: Turkey
Meet the teams: Turkey

Group A fixtures

11/06: Turkey vs Italy (Rome)
16/06: Turkey vs Wales (Baku)
20/06: Switzerland vs Turkey (Baku)

All of Turkey's EURO 2020 qualifying goals
All of Turkey's EURO 2020 qualifying goals

Team profile

Coach: Şenol Güneş
Captain: Burak Yılmaz
Nickname: Ay-Yıldızlılar (The Crescent-Stars)
How they qualified: Group H runners-up (W7 D2 L1 F18 A3)
EURO best: Semi-finals (2008)

Where they could play their knockout games

Round of 16: Amsterdam, London, Seville, Bucharest or Glasgow
Quarter-final: St Petersburg, Munich, Baku or Rome
Semi-final: London
Final: London

Final 26-player squad

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

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

Midfielders: Yusuf Yazıcı (LOSC), Dorukhan Toköz (Beşiktaş), İrfan Can Kahveci (Fenerbahçe), Okay Yokuşlu (Celta Vigo), Orkun Kökçü (Feyenoord), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahçe), Taylan Antalyalı (Galatasaray), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (AC Milan)

Forwards: Burak Yılmaz (LOSC), Cengiz Ünder (Roma), Enes Ünal (Getafe), Abdülkadir Ömür (Trabzonspor), Muhammed Kerem Aktürkoğlu (Galatasaray), Halil İbrahim Dervişoğlu (Brentford), Kenan Karaman (Fortuna Düsseldorf)

Classic Turkey EURO goals
Classic Turkey EURO goals

UEFA.Com Turkey team reporter: Görkem Kırgız

I can remember as far back as the 1996 edition, but this will be the first EURO I actually go to and experience live. The 2008 edition was by far my favourite tournament. Turkey reached the semi-finals after a series of thrilling comebacks, and Semih Şentürk's 120th-minute equaliser against Croatia in the quarters is my all-time standout EURO moment.

How they play

Turkey have been operating in a defensively strong and counter-attacking 4-2-3-1, which can sometimes switch to a narrow 4-4-2; however, they have lacked pace in build-up play. Şenol Güneş might also opt for a 3-4-3 when required, tightening up defensively to avoid stretching the game and being exploited.

Key player: Burak Yılmaz

At 35, Güneş's first-choice striker is also the oldest member of the squad. Second in the national team's all-time goalscoring chart, throughout his career he has averaged a goal every two games, and he's still netting frequently for new French champions LOSC.

EURO 2008 highlights: Turkey oust Croatia on penalties
EURO 2008 highlights: Turkey oust Croatia on penalties

Coach: Şenol Güneş

The man equipped with the youngest squad at this EURO is actually in his second spell as Turkey boss. By leading them to third place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup during his first stint, he repaired past heartbreak and restored the nation's faith.

One to watch: Hakan Çalhanoğlu

With great technique, long-range shooting ability and knuckleball expertise, the 27-year-old is a playmaker that produces. Playing some of the best football of his career, the No10 notched four goals and ten assists for AC Milan in Serie A this season.

Can they win it?

Although a very young team with many players yet to reach their peak, it would be realistic to see Turkey progress one or two stages. However, with a bit of luck and the element of surprise, it's not altogether inconceivable to picture them on the podium hoisting the trophy.

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