Turkey seeks another victory in France
The top two teams in Group H of the Euro 2020 qualification stage clash on Oct. 14 in Paris with the winner to get a major advantage for a ticket to next summer’s finals.
Turkey, leading the group with 18 points on goal difference ahead of France, needed a miracle goal in the dying minutes to go past Albania in its latest group game on Oct. 11, while France successfully converted a penalty shot to win 1-0 at Iceland.
Now, the two sides play at Stade de France, where France won the last seven home games.
But Turkey won the first game at home 2-0 in June and has been in good form since coach Şenol Güneş took charge earlier this year. Under Güneş, the country has won eight of its nine matches, suffering just one defeat in the process.
“In terms of game fluency, our pass percentage was not much, our desire was too much, there was tension,” Güneş said after the win against Albania, which came with a header by Everton striker Cenk Tosun in the dying minutes of the game.
Güneş expects a relatively calmer game again France.
“The game against France will be convenient to play our own game instead of focusing on the points battle,” he said. “We have players who want to book a ticket to the finals as soon as possible, and that creates pressure on them. I hope that the game against France will be different. After all, France is the world champion, and we will play an away game.”
After the clash with France, Turkey hosts Iceland on Nov. 14 before finishing its campaign away to Andorra three days later.
With key duo Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba both out injured, France is not taking the game lightly.
“That’s a good win ahead of the big match we’re all expecting Monday,” said coach Didier Deschamps after the win over Iceland, his 200th match with France.
After a torrid night for Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann, whom the compact Iceland defense niggled away at continually, the referee awarded a penalty for a sneaky kick on 66 minutes.
Despite little playing time at Chelsea this season, Giroud retains the faith of Deschamps and the 33-year-old fired a sure strike past Hannes Halldorsson with a confident spot-kick.
“It was a tough match but a good game from the whole team gave us the three points. Now, we have a big home game on Monday,” said Griezmann.
“We suffered over there, so we’ll have to be ready.”
Already missing Pogba and the fleet-footed Mbappe, France also lost their midfield metronome N’Golo Kante to a hamstring strain in the warm-up.