Next weekend the FIFA World Cup qualifiers return with some attractive games like Portugal-Sweden, Romania-Serbia or Uruguay-Paraguay. But perhaps the most interesting games will be in European Group 5 between Spain (first of the Fifa ranking) and Turkey (11 of the Fifa ranking) on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid and on Wednesday at Istanbul.
Spain arrives to these decisive games with calmness, since it has a comfortable advantage in the standing with the rest of the teams of the Group 5-Spain has won the 4 games played with 10 goals scored and only 1 goal received and it has 4 point more than its principal rival, Turkey and 5 points more than Belgium-and therefore “la roja” can play these 2 games without much pressure, aware that even a draw would be a good result in both games. But obviously, Spain should not start these games with this mentality, because if the Spanish players do not play with intensity and winning mentality, they can have many troubles in these games because Turkey is a team, whose players show a great performance when they play against a top and powerful teams(remember the good Turkish tournament during the last Euro in Switzerland and Austria or the excellent 2002 World Cup, when Turkey finished in third position thanks to the goals of Ümit Davala and İlhan Mansız during the tournament) and it is sure that they will do again during the games against Spain.
The team coached by the Fatih Terim´s team arrives to these games with some problems especially in the defensive line, because some important players will not play these games due to injuries, in this way, key defensive players like the central defender Servet Cetin (the hard and aggressive Galatasaray´s player-with 35 games played with the Turkish National team- is the pillar of the defensive line)and Gökhan Zan (the Besiktas´s central defender has played 28 games with the national team) will not be in these 2 games, which has importance, because these are the usual and experienced defenders of the national team and therefore Fatih Terim has to look for good solutions in order to stop the Spanish attack. Of course the performance of the defensive line, without these 2 men (besides another defender player, Emre Güngör from Galatasaray, is injured) will be a mystery-anyway, although Cetin and Zan were playing, anything would be possible, because a team with Volkan Demirel or Rüştü Reçber as goalkeepers, can not have any guarantee of security ...it is sad for a team to have these 2 goalkeeper, who can commit a stupid and absurd mistake in any moment of the game-. So, it is very possible that we will see in the Turkish starting lineup a player like the veteran Galatasaray´s central defender Emre Asik (he is 35 year´s old and of course he is far from his best moment and he can have many problem to stop the speed of the Kid Fernando Torres) and alongside Asik an inexperienced player liker or Ibrahim Kas(he is not lucky in his current period at Getafe)or one of the “mainstay” of the best Turkish teams defensively, Eren Güngör (the Kayserispor´s player is 20 year´s old and he has played 1game with the national team) or Sedat Bayrak from Sivasspor-the leader of the Turkish league-. We assume that Terim will choose Emre Asik and Ibrahim Kas, who will play alongside the classic left back of Galatasaray, Hakan Balta (13 games with the Turkish national team) and Gökhan Gönül(Fenerbahçe) or Sabri Sarioglu(Galatasaray) as right back-I think Sabri will play, cause Gönül is a very offensive defender, which can be dangerous, because his spaces can be exploited by the lethal Spanish offensive line-.
To counteract the defensive problems, Terim will use a strong midfield-there are also some midfielders injured like Mehmet Topal (Galatasaray) and Hamit Altintop(Bayern Munich)-, composed by the combative and elegant Arda Turan-the Galatasaray´s midfielder can play in any midfield´s position and besides he has a good shot with his right leg-, who will play alongside 3 experienced centermidfielder as Mehmet Aurelio(Real Betis), Ayhan Akman (Galatasaray) and technical but sometimes apathetic Emre Belözoğlu-he is not playing very well this season in Fenerbahçe-. On the bench, Terim will have another good midfielders like the young pearl Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund) and a not known Kazim Kazim (not known because he is making a very bad season in Fenerbahçe, without the Luis Aragonés´s confidence and showing a very poor level, far from the last year´s level, when he delighted us).
Finally, Spain must be careful with the Turkish attackers, since they have a lot of quality and they can score in any play. So they must be careful with the skilled Tuncay Sanly-the Middlesbrough´s forward has a great mobility and great ability-, who will be in the starting lineup alongside Nihat (the Villarreal´s striker has played 59 games with the national team and he arrives to these games after a not very good season at Villarreal-in fact he has not scored any goal at La Liga during this season-, since he had many problems with some injuries)if Terim wants to profit his speed or with a pure “9” like the opportune and good striker Semih Sentürk, who has had a complicated first half of the season, since he was injured and he had the new competence of Dani Güiza, but Semih could improve his level and now he is the owner of the Fenerbahçe´s attack line, displacing an unfortunate Dani Güiza- I can not understand how Güiza is in the Spanish National team for these games against Turkey, because he is showing a poor level during the last months-.On the bench, Terim will have other interesting Turkish strikers like the FC Sochaux´s player Mevlut Erding (he is quite fast and he has good definition with his right leg), the young Serca Yildirm (the 18 year´s old Bursaspor´s player has good dribbling, a great mobility and his name appears on the agendas of teams like Manchester United; he arrives to these games after a good game played against Fenerbahçe, where he forced the decisive penalty in the last minute of the game), the powerful Gökhan Ünal(the Trabzonspor´s striker has a good shot with his right leg) and the young-17 year´s old- Batuhan Karadeniz, who is a Besiktas´s good “killer” who is plays on loan in Eskisehirspor.
Anyway, it is a good team and although it has some important absences, it is sure that it will put in troubles the Spanish team, which arrives to these games as usual in the recent times with the discussion about the absence of Raul- if we speak about his football´s level, it is very difficult to understand how a man with 20 goals in 37 matches this season, is not in the National team, but another issue is that he has bad relation with other important players of the National team, which counsels his absence- and the criticism of some team-in this case Valencia is the team-about the call of its players to the National team ... , so as usual in Spain. About the Spanish starting line up next Saturday and as Francesc Fàbregas, Andrés Iniesta and Carles Puyol are injured, it is very probable that we will see the same players, who played against England one month and half (Spain won 2-0) with the inclusion of Santi Cazorla to replace the injured Iniesta, so the team will be: Iker Casillas (although Diego Lopez is showing a better level at this moment), Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol (or Marchena), Gerard Pique, Joan Capdevila; Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Marcos Senna, Santi Cazorla; Fernando Torres and David Villa. So, a lot of quality to continue with its particular Spanish "jogo bonito"- an excellent play and performance, since the Spanish team has a great record of 29 consecutive games without losing, which is always complicated-.
¿Will be Turkey the team, which can beat this current Spanish team?
The answer this Saturday at 22.00 CET and next Wednesday at 20.00 c.e.t