Preview: Turkey vs. Czech Republic

Preview: Turkey vs. Czech Republic

Turkey and the Czech Republic will both endeavour to end 2022 on a high note when they face off at the Gaziantep Stadium in Saturday’s international friendly.

The Crescent-Stars opened the month with a 2-1 success over Scotland on Wednesday night, while their visitors put five past the Faroe Islands without reply.

The name Ozan Kabak has not been heard for a while by those invested in the Premier League, but the 22-year-old has started to develop a penchant for goalscoring at Hoffenheim and continued that theme in Turkey’s 2-1 win over Scotland in midweek.

The former Liverpool and Norwich City centre-back opened the scoring before half time, and another ex-Premier League star in Cengiz Under doubled his side’s lead within four minutes of the restart before John McGinn made things interesting with half an hour left to play.

However, McGinn’s strike would only prove to be a consolation as Stefan Kuntz picked up his fifth victory from nine matches in charge of Turkey, who have recovered well from failing to beat lowly Luxembourg and the Faroe Islands in their final two Nations League games.

The Crescent-Stars will not be present at Qatar 2022, but they have been heavily involved in the World Cup conversation nonetheless, with predictions already being made on which team will be this winter’s ‘Turkey at Euro 2020’ and perform well below expectation.

The hosts’ path to Euro 2024 is far from straightforward, as Kuntz’s side prepare to face Croatia, Wales, Latvia and Armenia in qualifying next year, but scoring more than two goals per game on average during Kuntz’s short time in charge is a surefire recipe for success.

While Turkey suffered a shock 2-1 loss to the Faroe Islands in Nations League action only two months ago, the Czech Republic had no problem dispatching the world’s 122nd-ranked nation in their midweek friendly, easing to a 5-0 triumph.

A special moment for Mojmir Chytil saw the 23-year-old score a hat trick on his debut for the national team – with all three of his efforts coming prior to the 23-minute mark – before Vaclav Cerny put the icing on the cake and Patrizio Stronati added the cherry on top.

Such an emphatic success was the perfect way for Jaroslav Silhavy’s side to respond to their recent Nations League relegation, although few souls were predicting the Czechs to perform miracles against Switzerland, Portugal and Spain, as their stint in League A came to an end after just one year.

Failure to qualify for the World Cup means that the Czech Republic are without an appearance on the biggest stage since 2006, but they have made every edition of the Euros as an independent nation and will do battle with Poland, Moldova, Albania and recent foes the Faroe Islands in qualifying for the 2024 edition.

Victory over the Faroe Islands extended the visitors’ unbeaten run in friendly matches to a respectable five, but they have lost their last two games against Turkey 2-0 each time, most recently succumbing to the Crescent-Stars’ superiority at Euro 2016.

Turkey International Friendlies form:
Turkey form (all competitions):
Czech Republic International Friendlies form:
Czech Republic form (all competitions):

We say: Turkey 2-0 Czech Republic
Despite missing two of their most potent attackers, the Czech Republic still boast international nous in midfield and defence, and Chytil’s confidence could hardly be higher after announcing himself to the national team with a treble.

However, a full-strength Turkey side who have a taste for goals under Kuntz is a different kettle of fish to the Faroe Islands, and we can only envisage the Crescent-Stars ending the year with victory.

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