Our prediction for this match:
Vodafone Park in Istanbul will host Wednesday’s friendly between Turkey and Croatia. The Turks have yet to record a win in the UEFA Nations League this season, but it has to be noted that they shared the spoils with Russia and Serbia in the previous two group games. A man to keep an eye on in the home team will be Milan ace Hakan Calhanoglu. Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic will use this game to test as many players as possible, with Lovre Kalinic, Marin Pongracic, Josip Juranovic, Antonio-Mirko Colak, and Toma Basic all receiving their first call-ups.
The good news for the Croats is that Andrej Kramaric has overcome coronavirus. Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic is no longer part of the national team, while Luka Modric is likely to be rested in Wednesday’s friendly. Anyhow, we are tempted to put our money on the Turks, who are eager to put an end to their five-game winless run in all competitions.
Highlighted Player (Arda Turan):
Arda Turan is one of the most famous footballers in the history of Turkish football and he is widely tipped to break Rusti Recber’s record of 120 caps for Milli Takim. The attacking midfielder came to prominence at Galatasaray, while also impressing as Turkey reached the Euro 2008 semi-finals, and he immediately received offers from top European clubs to cash in on his impressive showings. However, it would take another three years before he finally decided to accept the call from Atletico Madrid, thus becoming the most expensive Turkish footballer.
Turan played a key role for Diego Simeone’s side that impressed in both Spain and Europe from 2011 onwards, lifting the league trophy with los Colchoneros and narrowly missing out on the Champions League title.
Achieving a superstar status in his country, Turan always performed well for the Turkey national team, making more than 90 appearances for Milli Takim before the age of 30, and scoring more than 15 goals.
Highlighted Team (Croatia):
While the national football team of Croatia also played international matches between 1940 and 1944, they only resumed their duties in 1990 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. Vatreni enjoyed a remarkable start on the international stage, winning the third place on their first ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998, while crashing out in the group stage at the 2002, 2006 and 2014 tournaments.
Croatia also reached the quarter-finals at the 1996 and 2008 European Championships, proving they are rightly considered one of Europe’s top sides at the start of the 21st century. Long-serving captain Darijo Srna is their most capped player with over 130 appearances for the national team, whereas former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker is one of their most famous players and top scorer with 45 goals.
Other notable footballers to have played for Croatia include Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic. Miroslav Blazevic and Slaven Bilic are the coaches that have been behind team’s biggest success stories up to date.