European Championship: Turkey vs. Portugal

The Euro 2024 excitement continues with another thrilling match-up, as Turkey and Portugal clash at Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. Seeking to secure top spot in Group F and progress to the last 16, both teams enter this game on the back of impressive victories. Turkey, ranked 40th by FIFA, delivered a stylish 3-1 win over tournament debutants Georgia, while FIFA ranking #9 Portugal staged a dramatic comeback to defeat Czech Republic 2-1. Which of these two teams will secure their place in the knockout rounds tonight?

Turkey Team News

Turkey’s matchday one triumph was all the more impressive considering the numerous injuries plaguing their squad. Key players such as Caglar Soyuncu, Ozan Kabak, Ridvan Yilmaz, Enes Unal, Cengiz Under, and Umut Nayir are all ruled out of the tournament. Despite these setbacks, the Crescent-Stars became only the second team in European Championship history to start two teenagers, Arda Guler and Kenan Yildiz. However, Guler is “not 100% fit” according to head coach Vincenzo Montella, who will make a late decision on his inclusion. Kerem Akturkoglu is on standby to replace Guler if needed. Additionally, Captain Hakan Calhanoglu is one booking away from suspension but is set to play in a deeper midfield role alongside Kaan Ayhan, with potential defensive recalls for Zeki Celik and Merih Demiral.

Portugal Team News

Portugal’s manager Roberto Martinez is expected to stick with the 3-4-3 formation that secured a dramatic win over Czech Republic. This setup might see Nuno Mendes operate on the left side of a back three next to veterans Pepe and Ruben Dias, with Diogo Dalot and Joao Cancelo as wing-backs. Vitinha, who delivered a man-of-the-match performance last time out, is likely to retain his spot in midfield alongside Bruno Fernandes. The 39-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, aiming to become the oldest goalscorer in European Championship history, is set to lead the line. He will be flanked by Bernardo Silva on the right and Rafael Leao on the left. Ronaldo, already the all-time top scorer in European Championship history, is also just one assist away from matching Karel Poborsky’s record for most assists at the Finals.

Turkey Form

Turkey entered Euro 2024 after a challenging run of form, going winless in their last five matches across all competitions. This lack of momentum raised concerns, especially given their history of losing opening matches in previous European Championships. However, the Crescent-Stars delivered an impressive performance in their 3-1 victory over Georgia, showcasing resilience and attacking flair. Mert Muldur opened the scoring, and after conceding an equalizer, Arda Guler’s stunning strike and Kerem Akturkoglu’s stoppage-time goal sealed the win. Despite the victory, head coach Vincenzo Montella emphasized the need for greater accuracy in front of goal, as Turkey managed to hit the target with only eight of their 22 shots.

Portugal Form

Portugal approached Euro 2024 with a strong record, having won all ten of their qualifying matches. Their Group F opener against Czech Republic, however, proved to be a test of their resolve. Falling behind to a spectacular long-range strike, Portugal equalized through a fortunate own goal before Francisco Conceicao’s dramatic 92nd-minute winner secured a 2-1 victory. Manager Roberto Martinez praised his team’s response to adversity in a tough match. Despite this victory, Portugal’s defense remains a concern, having kept just one clean sheet in their last six games. Nonetheless, their confidence is bolstered by a strong record against Turkey, winning their last six competitive meetings.

What do the stats say?

  • Turkey has never beaten Portugal in a European Championship, failing to score in all three previous encounters.
  • Portugal has won each of their last six competitive matches against Turkey.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for most goals at the European Championship (14) and is one assist away from matching the all-time record (8).

Our verdict

As Turkey and Portugal clash at Westfalenstadion, both teams are motivated by their opening match victories. Turkey’s historical struggles against Portugal and Portugal’s strong head-to-head record suggest an uphill battle for the Crescent-Stars. However, Turkey’s youthful energy and recent form, coupled with Portugal’s defensive vulnerabilities, promise an exciting contest. With Ronaldo’s penchant for setting records and Portugal’s depth, they are likely to edge out Turkey in a match filled with attacking play. Expect a thrilling game with Portugal ultimately prevailing.

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