Friday, June 20, 2008

Quick thoughts on Turkey -vs- Croatia

Its going to be tough to top yesterday's game, and quite honestly Young Swole doesn't have the knowledge of these squads to give a whole preview, but lets hit some quick talking points in regards to the 2nd quarterfinal of Euro 2008.

- Watch Croatia play, and you will see that they are a very technically sound team. They have a great familiarity among the starting 11 which means they are comfortable passing the ball as well as controlling the ball while in possession. This was one of the biggest keys to the German game, and we saw yesterday how the German pressure took Portugal off its game. With that being said, Croatia should be able to have possession for the majority of the game today which will lead to excellent scoring chances.

- Because Croatia move the ball so well, Turkey will have to be smart when challenging them. The Oily Turks have a tendency to get out of position and make ill-advised tackles against their opponents. This leads to a lot of fouls and cards. Combine this with the technical prowess of the Croats and the Turks will have to be very careful on their challenges as well as their defensive positioning.

- Turkey expended so much energy in their comeback over The Czech that its questionable they have anything emotionally for this game. To come back the way they did and the emotional release that comes with it will be hard to duplicate in this game. It will be up to midfielders like Altintop and Turan to ratchet up the tempo and keep Turkey in the game.

- As we saw in the Turkey comeback, their striker Nihat is pure class. He's shown why he scored 20 goals for Villareal with his clinical finishing last game. Think about how easy he made that look, and then think about how more well-known strikers like Thierry Henry and Luca Toni have blown almost every similar chance in their games. Because Turkey has Nihat, they will never be out of the game, they just need to find a way to get him the ball.

My prediction is going to be 2-1 Croatia. I feel they are just going to outclass the Oily ones and get a lot of scoring chances on a defense that was pretty raggedy even before head oil baron Servet was forced to sit out in today's game. We have also seen how much pride Turkey has, and I'm betting they'll score a late goal to try and make things close, but will not have enough left to try and make it three comebacks in a row.

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