Our prediction for this Nations League match:
There will be fireworks when Turkey and Russia go head to head at Ulker Stadyumu in the UEFA Nations League. Russia are on a quest to secure promotion to League A, but keep in mind that they will be without key attacker Artem Dzyuba in Sunday’s clash as the Zenit man has been left out of the squad. Stanislav Cherchesov’s troops are undefeated in the Europa League this term, but the game against Turkey will be anything but a walk in the park for the Group 3 leaders.
The Turks, on the other hand, head into the match without suspended attacker Burak Yilmaz, who was sent off in a 2-2 draw with Serbia. Defender Hasan Ali Kaldirim remains on the sidelines with injury for the hosts, but seeing that Senol Gunes’ men are tough to beat at home, we are tempted to put our money on draw.
Highlighted Player (Hakan Calhanoglu):
Hakan Calhanoglu is another one in the long line of Turkish footballers who were born in Germany, so it is hardly surprising he came to prominence thanks to his performances in Bundesliga. The attacking midfielder with great vision and very good goalscoring record started his professional career at Karlsruher, scoring impressive 17 goals in 50 league outings to earn a move to Bundesliga side Hamburg.
The spell at Imtech Arena was merely a stepping stone for bigger things as 11 goals in his debut top flight campaign persuaded Bayer Leverkusen to splash nearly €15 million on his services. That proved a very good investment as Calhanoglu continued the rich vein of form, and it is now a matter of time before he joins one of European powerhouses.
The midfield maestro had a bright start to his career in the Turkey national team, scoring 5 goals in first 16 caps, and chances are he will become a leader for Milli Takim in the foreseeable future.
Highlighted Team (Russia):
While they won the 1960 European Championship, while losing in the final in 1964, 1972 and 1988 as Soviet Union, Russia have enjoyed little success since starting to compete as an independent country in 1992.
Their best result up to date is the third-placed finish at the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, while the team failed to get past the group stage at the World Cup finals in three attempts. However, with Russian Premier League getting stronger by the day, the national team have started to improve as well, and they now finally seem capable of matching the world’s top sides.
The new generation includes high-quality footballers such as Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Kokorin, Artyom Dzyuba and Oleg Shatov, while the likes of Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich, Roman Shirokov and Yuri Zhirkov are nearing the closing stages of their careers. But, with plenty of exciting talent coming through the ranks, future definitely looks bright for the Russia national team.