Turkey v Wales: Tournament kicks off here for the Turks

Dave Farrar previews what could be the Group A decider, as Turkey can vault ahead of Wales...

Time for Turkey

That game against Italy in Rome was always going to be a difficult opening occasion for Senol Gunes and for Turkey, and that fact that they fell short seems to have been taken in the Turkish stride.

By quite how much they failed to lay a glove on the Italians must be a slight concern, but their tournament progression has always been about these next two games against Wales and then Switzerland, both of them in Baku.

The Turks will receive strong support in Azerbaijan, that gives them an advantage that's worth noting. There are historically strong relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey, and expect this to feel like a home game for Senol and his side.

Wales let off the hook in opener

Wales played their opening game here, and so will be used to the surroundings at least, and they'll be delighted to have come away from that match against Switzerland with a point.

For all of the romance and home celebration surrounding Kieffer Moore's equaliser, it was one that the Welsh barely deserved, and Switzerland were seething at the number of chances that they missed. The lack of a proper striker was always going to be their downfall, and may yet be Turkey's as well.

Burak Yilmaz wasn't ever really in the game against Italy, and as I intimated beforehand, it always felt as if any challenge that he could throw down would be met with reassurance by Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. He is their kind of player.

This, and indeed the Switzerland game, will be much more up his street, and if Turkey can get the quality service from out wide that the Swiss managed against Wales, then I expect Burak to thrive. Don't forget the form that he was in with Lille last season. It would be a surprise if he left this Euro with nothing.

Almost home advantage

There's so much to like about Wales in terms of their endeavour and battling qualities, and they dug out that result against the Swiss without either Aaron Ramsey or Gareth Bale having any significant impact on the game, so there is room for improvement, but I just feel that the Turks have that little bit of extra quality that may just be the undoing of Rob Page and his side.

Gareth Bale - 1280.jpg

Senol Gunes' team are trading at 2.44 for the win, in what is something approaching a home game against a team that started the tournament as favourites to finish bottom of the Group. All that Turkey have done wrong is fail at the Olimpico against Italy, and that has most certainly not turned them into a bad side.

Plenty of the Turkish newspapers have made the point that Turkey's Euro 2008 campaign began with a defeat by Portugal, and that year they came close to reaching the final. I think that they are set to improve here, and that there's every chance of them winning their final two group games to qualify with relative ease.

Expect big improvement from Turkey

I'm more than happy to support Turkey at 2.44 to come away with a win, and indeed to back Burak as an anytime goalscorer at around 3.6.

Yusuf Yazici, who I suggested keeping an eye on in that opening game, remains interesting at the 6.0 mark, but Burak, who scored six goals in his last seven games of the Ligue 1 season, could very well be the man here.

I can see there being goals, but am not interested at the prices, and feel that the bet is to get behind a Turkey team who are far better, and far more interesting in terms of tournament progression, than they looked in that toothless display in Rome.

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