It’s the final few days of friendly fixtures before the European Championships commence. Tomorrow, Slovenia host Turkey in the capital, Ljubljana, in the last test before the visitors head to France. Unfortunately for the hosts, they will not play a part at the tournament after suffering a narrow defeat to Ukraine in the play-offs for the competition.
Slovenia fell at the last hurdle for qualification
The hosts have played three international matches this year, winning one, losing one and drawing one. They have scored just one goal in three, and have conceded one; their results don’t supply much in terms of excitement for the neutrals: winning 1-0, losing 1-0 and drawing 0-0.
Unfortunately for Slovenia, they were only able to score one in their crucial qualification playoff match after finishing third in their qualifying group. In the first leg, they were defeated 2-0 by a fired up Ukrainian side, a 1-1 draw in Slovenia for the second leg confirmed that they would not be going to the competition; losing 3-1 on aggregate.
Srečko Katanec’s team will turn their attention to their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in two years time, the next major international tournament.
Final friendly for Turkey
Turkey, on the other hand, will be playing to gain momentum as they travel to France for the European Championships; their first appearance in the tournament since 2008.
Turkey have lost one and won two of their previous three international friendlies, after sealing qualification back in October. With a full squad re-grouping after their club duties, it will be an opportunity for Fatih Terim to exercise that depth and best available eleven before the critical matches of the group stages of the Euros.
Just like in 2008, Turkey have been drawn into a challenging group which emphasises the importance to capture an encouraging result in Slovenia tomorrow, in order to gain some momentum ahead of their first match against Croatia.
Slovenia are unlikely to name Atletico Madrid 'keeper, Jan Oblak in the squad after his involvement in the Champions League final.
Arda Turan made his return to international football last week, after an extended club campaign with Barcelona. He marked it with a last minute assist for Mehmet Topal to win the Turks the game.
As previously stated, Terim will be eager to field his strongest team to test the chemistry before their first Euro game next week. With an increased number of substitutions available, there will be a chance for Terim to adjust his team in all areas, should he desire to rest or test players.
Slovenia (4-3-3): Belec; Jokic, Struna, Skubic, Mevlja; Kurtic, Krhin, Kampl; Ilicic, Beric, Bezjak.
Turkey (4-1-4-1): Babacan; Gonul, Calik, Topal, Erkin; Tufan; Turan, Ozyakup, Calhanoglu, Mor; Tosun.
It’s the final test for Turkey as they creep ever closer to the European Championships, can they reach the highs of 2008 this time around?