By Oliver Marsh (Spain) & Jack Rodway (Turkey)
Spain (Oliver Marsh)
Last match recap
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I predicted not only the correct score in the first Spain game, but the half they scored in! My next prediction is that I will not predict anything right again all tournament. This is not great news, considering that with Spain and Italy as my sweepstake teams (the two Euro 2012 finalists), I might be writing a lot this summer…
Spain were nervy which is not surprising given their patchy form lately. But they won, and I think they will improve as the tournament goes on, which is scary news for the other teams in the competition.
How I will watch it
I will be drinking many pints of Estrella at the Red Lion in Barnes while watching my newly-adopted nation. While some may not agree, I quite like the idea of Friday night football. With the Premier League introducing games on a Friday night in the upcoming season, I actually reckon that Friday night games could serve as an effective pre-drink for the night ahead in the months to come.
Prediction: Spain 2 – 0 Turkey
Spain will keep ticking along, and while I reckon they still won’t be at their best tonight, they may not need to be against Turkey. Given the way that teams tend to defend against Spain I can’t see them routing anyone at Euro 2016, so a goal in each half from Spain will settle this game. I think Spain’s strong defence will keep their opponents at bay comfortably, and as the weekend arrives they can begin to think of the greater challenges that lie ahead. As they continue to improve, the final group game will be the strongest statement made by this Spain side as to their chances at Euro 2016.
Turkey (Jack Rodway)
Last match recap
Turkey manager Fatih Terim has called for more ‘fight’ from his players ahead of their clash with Spain, as it was fight they were certainly lacking last time out. They will be disappointed the way their last game panned out against Croatia, not just because of the result, but also the performance. They never really laid a glove on the Croats and if it wasn’t for their opponent’s profligacy in front of goal, the 1-0 defeat – thanks to a wonderful Luka Modric volley – could have been far worse. Unfortunately for Turkey it will not get any easier, as they play the holders Spain, in Nice. Things are starting to look very tricky indeed for the Turks.
Arda Turan came in for a hefty amount of stick for his lacklustre performance. It seemed as if sitting on the Barcelona bench has taken its toll on him. The captain was lacking leadership and confidence on Sunday, before eventually being hauled off after 65 minutes. Turan needs to rediscover his Atletico Madrid form if Turkey are going to seriously trouble the Spaniards. On a positive note for Turkey, youngster Emre Mor looked impressive in his short 20 minute cameo and the only one who seemed to want to take the game to Croatia; but whether or not Fatih Terim trusts him enough to start him in a game of this magnitude remains to be seen.
How I will watch it
This will be another game I will be watching at home. It is only really the England games and the latter stages of the tournament I will go out of my way to organise something. Might play a pre-game match of FIFA between the two sides, that might determine a winner…I will obviously be Turkey.
Prediction: Spain 2 – o Turkey
After an opening game defeat, Spain is the last team you would want to play. Iniesta looked peerless as always in midfield, setting up the Pique’s winner. But Spain do lack firepower upfront, as was shown by Alvaro Morata’s wastefulness in front of goal. Turkey know they will be starved of possession, so the chances they do get they’ll need to make count. Unfortunately for the Turks, I can’t see anything other than a comfortable Spain victory. Chasing the ball around for 90 minutes when the eyes of the footballing world are on you can’t be fun. 2-0 Spain.