Monday, July 15, 2024

Prediction: Netherlands vs Turkey

Verdict: Netherlands win

Best odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: 888sport

In a battle for a place in the Euro 2024 semifinals, the Netherlands and Turkey meet at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday evening.

The winning team will face a clash with either Switzerland or England as the penultimate hurdle, and after coming through the previous round in different ways, both teams be hopeful of progressing.

Netherlands

Having gone through a difficult patch at the start of the tournament, the Netherlands reached this stage in relative comfort by beating Romania 3-0 in the round of 16. Cody Gakpo broke the deadlock in the 20th minute, with Donyell Malen twice on target late on.

In the group stage, the team commanded by Ronald Koeman beat Poland, drew with World Cup finalists France, and suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Austria. However, their second-place finish in Group D put them in the arguably weaker side of the knockout path, and they’re now considered among the favourites to reach the final, even though the prospect of facing England or Switzerland still looms ahead, always presuming they can move past Turkey.

Nonetheless, Koeman will be hoping he can repeat the success of his playing days, when he was a part of the team that won the only major trophy for his country to date, becoming European champions in 1988.

Gakpo has obviously been on excellent form in this tournament, and Xavi Simons seems to be on the right track to develop into a world-class attacking midfielder, and captained by Liverpool skipper Virgil van Dijk, the Dutch have every reason to feel optimistic. Their opponents on Saturday will, however, have different ideas.

Team News

Following a fluid performance in their victory over Romania, Koeman is expected to stick with a similar starting lineup for the Netherlands’ clash on Saturday night. Bart Verbruggen will likely continue in goal, with Van Dijk set to captain the side from his central defensive position.

Steven Bergwijn was substituted at half time due to an injury, and his place on the right flank may be taken by either Jeremie Frimpong or Donyell Malen, with the latter making a notable impact off the bench last time out.

Up front,  Gakpo, who has scored three goals in four Euro 2024 appearances, is set to start alongside Memphis Depay, just four goals shy of Robin van Persie’s all-time scoring record for the Oranje (50).

Turkey

Turkey began their last-16 match against Austria with the fastest-ever knockout round goal in European Championship history on Tuesday evening, setting an early course for the quarterfinals.

Centre-back Merih Demiral, who had only scored twice in 47 previous international appearances, surprisingly netted twice in this match. However, Austria responded strongly, nearly pushing the thrilling contest into extra time. A miraculous last-minute save by Turkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok thwarted Austria’s hopes of extending the match, demonstrating extraordinary reflexes.

Turkey were without captain Hakan Calhanoglu due to suspensions from their heated group stage match against the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, Real Madrid’s young talent Arda Guler excelled, playing a crucial role in Vincenzo Montella’s youthful lineup. This marked the first time two teenagers, Guler and Kenan Yildiz, started together in a knockout stage match for Turkey.

Montella now faces additional suspensions and the challenge of players on the brink of further disciplinary action. Turkey must overcome the Netherlands in their quarterfinal clash, aiming to advance to the Euros’ semifinals for just the second time in their history. In their previous World Cup qualifiers, both Turkey and the Netherlands secured home victories against each other.

Following their thrilling 3-1 win over Georgia, a loss to Portugal, and a last-minute triumph over the Czech Republic, Turkey delivered another exciting performance in Leipzig. Fans and neutrals alike can look forward to more high-stakes entertainment this weekend.

Team News

Turkey can welcome back their influential skipper Hakan Calhanoglu for the match, but they will be without two midfielders due to suspension: Orkun Kokcu, who will miss playing against the country of his birth, and Ismail Yuksek, who is sidelined after receiving two bookings.

Demiral, Tuesday’s hero for his team, may face sanctions from UEFA for his controversial celebrations. If so, Samet Akaydin is on standby to fill in at the back.

Nineteen-year-olds Kenan Yildiz and Arda Guler, among others, are at risk of missing a potential semifinal due to yellow card accumulation. However, coach Montella will not dwell on such matters before this crucial match.

Conclusion

Both teams are potent in attack but susceptible in defense, suggesting that goals could come despite the high stakes.

Turkey will have significant support from their large diaspora in Germany. However, the Netherlands seem to be hitting their stride and might narrowly come out on top in what promises to be a close encounter in the capital.

Verdict: Netherlands win

Best odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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