Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Prediction: Turkey vs Greece

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions 29 May 2019

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Verdict: Turkey win and under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 9/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

Turkey host Greece for their Friendly clash on Thursday evening, looking to build on their team spirits and keep up their winning streak ahead of the EURO 2020 Qualifiers.

Turkey

Starting with the hosts, after losing three of their four matches in last year’s inaugural UEFA Nations League and being relegated to League C, few would have expected Turkey’s impressive start to their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign. Coming off the back of a pair of victories over Moldova and Albania giving Şenol Güneş’s side six points and sat only behind World Cup winners France in Group H, fans in Antalya will also be impressed by their sides’ newfound defensive resolve. Looking to secure a return to a major tournament next summer, the Reds have recorded three consecutive clean sheets and have conceded just one goal in nearly 400 minutes of action. Looking keep up the morale before they host Les Bleus in qualifying next month, Güneş’s will be looking for the red-hot Burak Yilmaz to carry on his bright end to the domestic season. Bagging 24 international goals for Turkey and now their second all-time leading goalscorer, the 33-year-old also recorded 16 goals for Beşiktaş in the Süper Lig this campaign, including scoring 12 goals in his last 15 matches for club and country.

Team News

Istanbul Basaksehir midfielder Emre Belozoglu will captain the hosts, with Burak Yilmaz expected to lead the line ahead of Cenk Tosun and Hakan Calhanoglu. Teenagers Ozan Kabak and Abdulkadir Omur will be hoping to make their debuts.

Greece

As for the visitors, Greece find themselves in an almost identical situation to Thursday’s hosts. While Angelos Anastasiadis’s men may have had to settle for a third-place finish behind Finland and Hungary in their UEFA Nations League Group C campaign, the former PAOK boss has seen his side enjoy a bright start to their EURO 2020 qualification. Coming from two goals behind away at Bosnia to snatch a point last month, Greece’s four points from their opening two games sees them sat only behind Italy in Group J. Now losing just one of their previous four encounters across all competitions, Ethniki also hold a respectable record outside of Athens, even if they have come up against lesser opposition. They’ve beaten Liechtenstein, Estonia, and Egypt, while losing to Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, and Finland. With many of Greece’s most notable names coming to the end of their international careers, Anastasiadis has found himself in the midst of a rebuilding process for the former European champions. In fact, 15 of the 25 players selected for Thursday have under 10 international caps.

Team News

Captain Sokratis is in the squad but won’t be available to play after the Europa League Final on Wednesday night, with Kostas Manolas being the main figure at the back. It’s a largely inexperienced squad, with only Sokratis having over 50 caps to his name and 15 of the squad having under 10 Greece appearances.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Turkey have recorded three consecutive clean sheets.
  • Beşiktaş striker Burak Yilmaz has 12 goals in his last 15 matches for club and country.
  • Five of the previous six meetings between the two sides have seen under 2.5 goals.
  • 15 of the 25 players selected by Greece have under 10 international caps.
  • Greece have scored more than a single goal in 90 minutes in just two of their previous 13 matches across all competitions.

Conclusion

With the mood in Turkey’s camp the highest it has been in recent memory, Şenol Güneş’s men should be confident of extending their winning run to three matches on the bounce. Conceding just one goal in their last three matches in Antalya and really showing some newfound defensive resolve, we’re backing Thursday’s hosts to come away with the victory in what could be a close-fought encounter.

Verdict: Turkey win and under 2.5 goals 

Best Odds: 9/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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