Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Numbers Game: Expect goals as Turkiye aim to upset the odds against the Dutch

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Jul 2024


The fourth quarter-final at Euro 2024 sees the Netherlands take on Turkiye in what promises to be a thriller in Berlin.

Ronald Koeman’s Oranje team clicked into gear in the last 16 as they dispatched Romania 3-0.

Turkiye, meanwhile, beat Austria 2-1 in a thriller, with goalkeeper Mert Gunok making the save of the tournament so far to ensure Vincenzo Montella’s team avoided extra time.

If recent meetings between these nations are anything to go by, then anticipate plenty of excitement in Saturday’s clash.

That being said, with a place in the last four, and a tie with either Switzerland or England up for grabs, there is plenty on the line.

Here, we use Opta data to preview the clash.

What’s expected?

Turkiye dumped out one of the group stage’s most impressive teams when they sent Austria packing on Tuesday, but it is the Netherlands who are made favourites by Opta’s supercomputer.

The Dutch are given a 58.1% chance of success at the Olympiastadion, while Turkiye’s chances are rated at a rather slimmer 19.7%. The likelihood of a draw is 22.5%.

This will be the 15th international meeting between Netherlands and Turkiye.

The Oranje have won six of the previous 14, with Turkiye winning four and the others finishing level. However, this tie is the first fixture between these teams to come at a major tournament.

The last two matches between the Netherlands and Turkiye have seen a combined 13 goals (6.5 per game), with Turkiye winning 4-2 in March 2021 and the Netherlands winning 6-1 in September 2021, both in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

And the data from this tournament also suggests we should expect goals. These sides rank in the top eight teams in the tournament for expected goals (xG), with the Netherlands (6.56) coming in at sixth, and Turkiye (6.11) in eighth.

The Netherlands have had the fifth-most shots (63), while Turkiye have had the sixth-most (57).

Both these teams like to attack, but in defence, the Dutch clearly have the edge, and in fairness, that should be expected with the likes of Stefan de Vrij, Nathan Ake and Virgil van Dijk.

Koeman’s team have recorded 3.84 expected goals against (xGA) across their four matches, in contrast to Turkiye’s figure of 8.0. Indeed, of the teams remaining in the competition, Turkiye have conceded the most shots (59).

History unkind for the Dutch

The Oranje have progressed from five of their last seven major tournament quarter-finals, although one of the two exceptions was their most recent such tie, when they lost in a penalty shoot-out to Argentina at the 2022 World Cup.

This is the Netherlands’ first European Championship quarter-final since 2008, when they lost 3-1 to Russia.

And while they are favourites, history has not been wholly kind to them.

The Netherlands have only progressed from three of their last nine knockout ties at the European Championships.

They are looking to win two knockout ties in a single edition of the finals for only the second time, after 1988, when they won the competition.

Koeman will want his team to replicate the level of control they showed against Romania, and midfielder Tijjani Reijnders was crucial to that.

Coming into the quarter-finals, only Joshua Kimmich (14) and Kevin De Bruyne (11) have made more passes that have broken the opposition’s defensive line at Euro 2024 than Reijnders (10), who made five against Romania.

Or will it be Turkish delight?

Turkiye are looking to win three consecutive matches at the European Championships for the first time, and only the second time at major tournaments overall, after doing so at the 2002 World Cup to reach the semi-finals.

This is the fourth major tournament quarter-final they have reached, after Euro 2000, the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008.

They reached the semi-final of the latter two of those, after losing 2-0 to Portugal in 2000.

However, if they are to upset the odds on Saturday, then they will need to keep their heads.

Turkiye have received 18 yellow cards at Euro 2024. In European Championship history, only Czechia in 1996 have been given more cards at a single edition (20 – 19 yellows, one red).

Montella’s team have picked up at least two cards in each of their last 24 matches at major tournaments, so that indiscipline is something the Dutch could use to their advantage.

Set-pieces could be crucial for Turkiye, who scored both of their goals from corners in the win over Austria.

That being said, they also conceded from a corner, making that the first match on record (since 1980) at the European Championships to see as many as three goals come via such set-piece situations.


Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

Gakpo’s brilliant strike got the ball rolling for the Oranje against Romania, taking him onto three goals for the tournament.

Across the 2022 World Cup and Euro 2024, the only European player with more goals than Gakpo (six) is Kylian Mbappe (nine).

All six of Gakpo’s strikes have come in different matches; the only Dutch players to score in more different games at major tournaments are Dennis Bergkamp (10), Robin van Persie (eight), and Wesley Sneijder (seven).

Turkiye – Arda Guler

Real Madrid youngster Guler has proven his superstar potential in Germany, assisting Merih Demiral’s winner.

With that assist, Guler is one of only three teenagers to both score and set up a goal at a single Euros, after Wayne Rooney (four goals, one assist) and Cristiano Ronaldo (two goals, two assists) at Euro 2004.

Turkiye have given six starts to teenagers at Euro 2024 – three for Kenan Yildiz and three for Guler – a joint record in a single edition of the finals, along with Spain at Euro 2020 (six, all for Pedri).



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