Turkey and Croatia will begin their respective campaigns in Euro 2016 on Sunday at Parc des Princes in Paris, France. Both teams belong to Group D of the tournament together with Czech Republic and heavy favorites Spain.
Defending champions Spain are expected to top Group D, while Turkey and Croatia are tipped to finish second and third in the group. Their tournament opener will be a crucial match because the winner will have a strong chance to advance to the knockout phase of the tournament.
Croatia will look to sustain their momentum from their recent victories heading into the 2016 European Championship — 1-0 against Moldova on May 27 and 10-0 over San Marino on June 4. Team captain Darijo Srna believes they will have a successful campaign, saying that the 2016 squad is the best in Croatian national team history.
Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic will be a huge threat on Sunday’s match, while midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric are expected to wreak havoc. Both midfielders are coming off solid seasons for Spanish Primera Division clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.
On the other hand, Arda Turan along with Hakan Calhanoglu and Oguzhan Ozyakup are expected to take the spotlight for Turkey in their opener against Croatia. Galatasaray team captain Selcuk Inan is also poised to have good tournament, as he is known for stepping up in crucial matches.
History is not on Turkey’s side, though, as they have dropped their first matches in their last three European Championship stints, BBC reported. The Turkish side have not won against Croatia since their hard-earned win in the Euro 2008 quarterfinal, which ended on penalty shootout.
Here are the predicted lineup for the Turkey vs. Croatia Euro 2016 match:
Turkey – Babacan, Erkin, Balta, Topal, Gonul, Inan, Tufan, Ozyakup, Turan, Calhanoglu, Yilmaz
Crotia – Subasic, Strinic, Schildenfeld, Vida, Srna, Modric, Badelj, Rakitic, Perisic, Pjaca, Mandzukic
Turkey and Croatia last met in the Euro 2012 qualification round, where they settled for a scoreless draw, but Croatia got the best of their rivals during that time with a 3-0 win in the first leg of the play-offs. Expect a close match on Sunday, but Turkey will likely escape with a 1-0 win to begin their campaign on a positive note.
The Turkey-Croatia match is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. ET. Fans can watch the match on ESPN3 USA and through online live stream via WatchESPN. More TV broadcast information and live stream details are available on this link.