Turkey hosts Bosnia in friendly

Turkey hosts Bosnia in friendly

ISTANBUL
Turkey hosts Bosnia in friendly

The Turkish national football team will play Bosnia and Herzegovina on Oct. 11 in the Black Sea province of Rize in a friendly game, before continuing its UEFA Nations League campaign in Sochi against Russia on Oct. 14.

Turkey sits in the second spot in League B, Group 2 in the Nations League, after losing 2-1 at home against Russia in its opener last month and beating Sweden 3-2 in Solna.

Turkey’s squad for the matches against Bosnia and Russia includes Real Valladolid forward Enes Ünal, AS Roma midfielder Cengiz Ünder, Milan Midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Celta Vigo midfielder Okay Ypkuşlu and Everton striker Cenk Tosun.

Unbeaten against Sweden since 1994, Russia welcomes the Scandinavians to Kaliningrad on Oct. 11, a city closer to Stockholm than it is to Moscow.

The visitors will hope that confers some advantage, given they are still hunting their first Nations League points.

Also on Oct. 11, Spain will travel for a friendly match to Wales, which is likely to be without its star player Gareth Bale.

Bale is struggling with a groin injury after aggravating the problem during Real Madrid’s defeat at Alaves on Oct. 6.

The 29-year-old also missed Real’s Champions League tie at CSKA Moscow last week with the same issue and sat out Wales’ training session when he arrived for international duty on Oct. 8.

Given his links with both countries, Bale would relish playing against Spain, which features several of his Real teammates, in the first meeting between the teams since 1985.

But with Wales having a more significant Nations League tie against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Oct. 16, Bale, his country’s record goalscorer, is likely to be rested against Spain to give him extra time to recover.

Even with Bale potentially on the sidelines, Burnley’s Vokes is certain Wales will show they are more than a one-man band.

“Gareth is massive for us, but we’ve got a lot of players playing at top level now,” Vokes said.

“They are playing regularly as well and that can only help us.

“If there are players missing there are others ready to step in.”

Vokes’ confidence is built on the foundations laid by Ryan Giggs since he succeeded Chris Coleman as Wales manager in January.

Wales produced one of its best performances in recent years when it thrashed the Republic 4-1 in its Nations League opener last month.

The team’s second taste of the competition, a 2-0 defeat in Denmark three days later, was not so productive for former Manchester United winger Giggs, who has won two and drawn one of his five matches.

But Giggs’ tenure, notable for his use of emerging young talent, has already sparked enough enthusiasm to convince Welsh FA chiefs to schedule the Spain fixture for the 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium, the team’s first appearance there since 2011.

“It helps that I inherited a great squad spirit-wise and regarding how the lads get on,” Giggs said.

“Obviously, I’m different from the previous manager, I’ve got my own ways and my own thoughts about how I want to play and work.

“But the players have been really good and are taking all the information on board.”

football, UEFA Nations League, Bosnia, Russia