Projected Turkey Starting XI against Netherlands


Having been hugely underwhelming dark horses at Euro 2020, Turkey are making amends in Germany this time around.

Turkey managed two victories in the group stage and followed them up with an impressive win over Austria in the last 16. A brace from centre-back Merih Demiral – one coming within the opening minute – and a terrific late stop from 35-year-old goalkeeper Mert Gunok saw them triumph 2-1 in Leipzig.

The reward for their progress is a quarter-final tie with the Netherlands this Saturday, with Turkey aiming to make the semis of a major tournament for only the third time. Their last journey to the final four came at Euro 2008, but they may even fancy their slim chances of reaching the final of Euro 2024 given the side of the draw they’re on.

Vincenzo Montella has several suspensions to contend with, as he had against Austria as well, but should be able to field a near full-strength team for this gargantuan clash.

Here is how Turkey could line up against the Dutch this weekend.

Mert GunokMert Gunok

Mert Gunok’s late save proved crucial against Austria / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

GK: Mert Gunok – The veteran pulled out one of the saves of the tournament in the seventh minute of stoppage time to deny Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner. A Gordon Banks-esque stop at a pivotal moment guaranteed Turkey’s spot in the last eight.

RB: Mert Muldur – The Fenerbahce defender has to stifle one of Euro 2024’s most dynamic forwards this weekend as he prepares to face in-form Cody Gakpo. It’s paramount that he stops the Liverpool attacker cutting in on his right boot.

CB: Merih Demiral – Now plying his trade in the Saudi Pro League, Demiral bagged an unexpected brace against Austria. Given he didn’t start Turkey’s first two matches, he has made a pretty impressive late tournament surge.

CB: Abdulkerim Bardakci – One of the few players who can’t be suspended with a yellow card for the semis – only because he’s already served a ban against Czechia – Bardakci has been ferocious at Euro 2024 so far. Memphis Depay won’t be relishing this physical battle.

LB: Ferdi Kadioglu – The offensive-minded Fenerbahce full-back will have to do far more defending than attacking this Saturday, with Donyell Malen and Denzel Dumfries bombing down his flank. He can cause them problems going the other way, though.

CM: Kaan Ayhan – While a right-back by trade, Ayhan stepped into midfield against Austria and will have to do so again following suspensions to Orkun Kokcu and Ismail Yuksek.

CM: Hakan Calhanoglu – Having missed out on the last-16 tie through suspension, Turkey will be relieved to have the Inter playmaker back. With midfield a potential weakness for the Dutch, Calhanoglu’s presence could prove decisive.

CM: Salih Ozcan – The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been a bit-part player at Euro 2024 but the absence of several of his teammates will given him a shot in the starting XI. His aggression in the press will be key up against Xavi Simons.

RW: Baris Alper Yilmaz – Having led the line with mixed success in the opening matches of the tournament, Yilmaz was moved out to the right-hand side last time out as Montella switched systems. His preferred position with Galatasaray, he was effective in providing width and driving the ball forward.

CF: Arda Guler – The Real Madrid youngster has shone at Euro 2024 and was asked to play in a false nine position against Austria. He did so admirably and his presence could drag Stefan de Vrij and Virgil van Dijk out of position.

LW: Kenan Yildiz – The pacy Juventus winger has started three of Turkey’s matches this summer and has largely impressed, even if he hasn’t always shone in comparison to his attacking teammates. He will need to offer Kadioglu plenty of defensive support.



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