Turkey to take last test ahead of Euro 2016 against Slovenia
LJUBLJANACoach Fatih Terim’s final cadre for the Euro 2016 will take its last friendly test against Slovenia on June 5 in a bid to give fans hope the team can qualify from a relatively difficult group.
Terim branded established stars like Arda Turan of Barcelona with promising young talent like Danish-born Emre Mor in his 23-man squad, which will visit the central European country following a camp in the Mediterranean resort Antalya.
“Terim goes to France with plenty of talent to choose from, especially in midfield, so much so that one of the main talking points was how Borussia Dortmund’s Nuri Şahin got in,” wrote Çetin Cem Yılmaz on uefa.com. The Slovenia game will offer the experienced manager time to fine-tune his lineup before the first group game against Croatia on June 12.
Another yet-to-be-made decision for Terim is picking a target man as the striker, with local league champion Beşiktaş’s Cenk Tosun and Burak Yılmaz, who flew to Beijing Guoan from Istanbul’s Galatasaray during the winter break, as strong options.
Yılmaz highlighted Oğuzhan Özyakup as the “man to watch,” praising him for “incisive passing, incursions into the box, long-range shooting and ability to dictate the tempo.”
Also in the limelight will be midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu of Bayer Leverkusen, widely regarded as the finest player.
Inter Milan fans will also have an eye on the Slovenia-Turkey game to see what their new defender, Caner Erkin, can do. Erkin signed a three-year contract with the Italian side earlier this week after six years with Fenerbahçe.
Turkey has been drawn in Group D along with reigning champions Spain, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Rival Slovenia was very close qualifying but suffered a draw against Ukraine in the second leg of a playoff matchup and Ukraine was through 3-1 on aggregate.
Scotland visits France
Euro 2016 hosts France, meanwhile, play their final pre-tournament friendly against Scotland in the northeastern city of Metz on June 4.
Les Bleus’ prospects of winning a major competition on home soil - just as they did at Euro 1984 and the 1998 World Cup - cannot have been aided by the ongoing noise of the Karim Benzema affair or by the flurry of withdrawals before the final deadline to name their 23-man squad passed on May 31.
Sidelined from the squad due to his implication in the Mathieu Valbuena sex tape blackmail affair, Real Madrid star Benzema has caused a storm by claiming “a racist part of France” is to blame for his exclusion in an interview with Spanish media.
But France coach Didier Deschamps may have been more concerned about the loss of key midfielder Lassana Diarra to injury minutes before the final squad deadline.
“Obviously it is annoying but I have 23 players and I have confidence in them,” said Deschamps, who replaced Diarra with Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.