World Cup Qualifying: Analyzing Turkey's Starting 11 in Estonia

By Aydin Reyhan
Photo courtesy of Arda Turan’s Facebook page

The Turkish Men’s National Team will be playing their ninth World Cup Qualifier in Estonia tomorrow with arguably their best starting lineup available. The starters are as follows:

Goal Keeper: Volkan Demirel
Defense: Gokhan Gonul, Omer Toprak, Semih Kaya, Caner Erkin
Midfield: Gokhan Tore, Selcuk Inan, Mehmet Topal, Arda Turan
Offense: Burak Yilmaz, Umut Bulut

We begin with the defense. Gonul locks down his defender throughout the game, which is crucial as attacks from his right side are always constructed. His ability to run on almost every attack to send the ball in from that right flank also forces opponents to quickly organize themselves in that area, which allows the Turks to attack in many different ways.

Toprak and Kaya are arguably the best center-backs that Turkey has to offer as they always know how and when to defend their opponents, whether it be in the air or on the ground. They have to put in the extra effort in order to keep this Baltic nation off of the scoreboard.

Erkin normally plays in the left side of midfield, which is why he is so useful when it comes to attacking. The reason why he starts on the left of the defense is due to his speed, ability to lock down a man and the know-how to counter to near perfection when the time is right.

Tore and Turan play on the right and left of midfield respectively and it is their speed, their creative ability and vision that makes them exactly how dangerous they truly are. They have to run back at times to assist the defense but mostly have to focus on creating goal-scoring opportunities.

Inan and Topal both have to sit back in the midfield to hold the middle of the park together on both offense and defense. Inan may look to push up a bit more as he is the creative force of the team straight down the middle of the park, whereas as Topal is known for dropping back to defend.

Yilmaz and Bulut have partnered up top at Trabzonspor at the club level to create one of the best striking duos in Turkish history. Now, they may not start together at Galatasaray, but their scoring has not stopped. Playing for their former Gala coach Fatih Terim will only make them work harder to score as many goals as possible.

Prediction: Estonia 1 — Turkey 2

The Turks will go up 1-0 with the home side, scoring on one of their few chances early in the second half. Then, a winner will be found by the hungriest player on the field for the visitors.

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