The Czech Republic needs to win against Turkey to progress to the next stage; any other outcome will send them home. Turkey has very slim hopes of getting it through the group as they lost both of their games with Croatia and Spain. It’s highly unlikely to expect them in the 1/8 finals even with three points out of this match. However, there are still games to be played in groups E and F so nothing is yet concluded.
The Czechs’ comeback after two goals down and 15 minutes left against Croatia is truly inspiring, and the players’ spirits are sky-high – it could be a defining factor in this game. Unlike downhearted Turkey, the Czech Republic still can decide its faith with a possible win – it would mean they’re through. The defense was heavily exposed in the game against Croatia, but the team responded brilliantly, and that determination salvaged them a point. That same point could be vital in their quest. Pavel Vrba will instruct his players to remain calm and not to rush in from the start. He will rather sit and wait for his chance while waiting for the opponent to get into the trap. The Czechs were quite dangerous from the set pieces thus far, and that could be their primary weapon.
Turkey is one of the teams that disappointed the most in this tournament; they failed to score a goal with just two attempts on target. Only Sweden is worst in that regard – no shots on goal. The Turks also had problems to link several passes and construct the game so isn’t wonder they are facing elimination. Arda Turan is completely out of form. The defense is error prone while the attackers lack the right support from the midfield. It could change against the Czechs, but it’s rather hard to bounce back after consecutive defeats and win. However, the stranger things happened in football recently, and anything is possible. Fatih Terim certainly has what it takes to inspire his players, and this isn’t the first time they are in big trouble. The Turks qualified for the Euro even when nobody gave them a chance, but they succeeded with three wins in a row, overcoming the Netherlands in the process.
Pavel Vrba cannot count on his captain Tomas Rosicky, who sustained a muscle injury against Croatia, and he will be greatly missed. His influence is critical for the team, but the head coach will have to give the playmaking role to Jaroslav Plasil. Lafata shouldn’t start in attack after an uninspiring performance against Croatia. Necid or Skoda could get the start.
The Czech Republic possible starting lineup: Cech; Kaderabek, Hubnik, Sivok, Limbersky; Plasil; Krejci, Darida, Skalak, Gebre Selassie (Kolar); Necid (Skoda).
Fatih Terim doesn’t have many quality options on the bench, but Nuri Sahin could find his way into the starting eleven due to ineffectiveness in the midfield. He could be a key contributor along with Arda Turan and Calhanoglu. Burak Yilmaz needs useful balls and Sahin is the man that fit the bill.
Turkey possible starting lineup: Babacan; Gonul, Topal, Balta, Erkin; Inan, Sahin, Tufan; Turan, Calhanoglu; Yilmaz.