Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Euro 2016 Preview - Group D: Turkey and the Czech Republic

Finishing up the Group D also ran sides - Turkey and the Czechs - first up the Turks:

Nickname: "Ay-Yildzililar" ("The Crescent-Stars")

Absurd FIFA ranking: 18th

Coach: Grim-faced boss Fatih Terim

Match Schedule: 

June 12 - Turkey v. Croatia (Paris, 9am EST, ESPN)
June 17 - Turkey v. Spain (Nice, 3pm ESPN)
June 21 - Turkey v. Czech Republic (Lens, 3pm, ESPN)

Prospects: In previous tournaments, Group D might have been a competitive group, even a Group of Death, given that all four sides have had their moments in the sunshine. Yet, Turkey have fallen off the ledge of international football in recent years, having failed to qualify for two tournaments in a row. Expectations have been slightly raised by recent decent form, but qualification for the Round of 16 is still a big ask for a plodding squad of aging veterans who ply their trade in lesser leagues.

Key Player: Skipper Arda Turan rarely gets a match for Barcelona, but he holds things together for his national team.

Prediction: The June 21st match-up with the Czechs will likely determine whether Turkey (or the Czechs) will qualify for R16 through a third place berth. My leaning is against either of them being one of the four best third placed teams.

On to the Czechs, who are in a similar place:

Absurd FIFA ranking: 29th

Coach: Popular Czech figure Pavel Vrba

Match Schedule: 

June 13 - Czech Republic v. Spain (Toulouse, 9am EST, ESPN)
June 17 - Czech Republic v. Croatia (St. Etienne, 12pm ESPN)
June 21 - Czech Republic v. Turkey (Lens, 3pm, ESPN)

Prospects: After having failed to qualify for Brasil 2014 and being group in a Group of Death with Holland, Iceland and Turkey, few Czech fans expected their side to qualify this summer. Getting out of that group was accomplishment enough; yet, this aging squad will likely have little left in the tank after a tough, long season.

Key Player: Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky rarely gets a match for his side these days and may well be heading out of the Emirates. But he runs this Czech side. If his recent injury scare keeps him out of France 2016, this Czech side is sunk.

Prediction: Fourth place in Group D - it's time for a complete overhaul of this side.

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