EM 2024: Türkiye vs. Austria – Surgeons against bubbling volcanoes

EM 2024: Türkiye vs. Austria – Surgeons against bubbling volcanoes
EM 2024: Türkiye vs. Austria – Surgeons against bubbling volcanoes

On Tuesday, Turkey will face Austria in the last round of 16 of the 2024 European Championship. A duel with unequal prospects. The Alpine countries are playing the most composed football in years under Ralf Rangnick, and the Turks are ready to break out at any time.

Sometimes it only takes a little, a brief moment, a small stone, to make a volcano erupt. This also applies – or especially – to the Turkish national team. Their fuse? Brief. Their fans? Accelerants incarnate. The first three games of this European Championship have shown what makes the Turks so special and what makes them so good: emotionality, obsession – in relation to the game, this means above all: unpredictability.

It is precisely this unpredictability that horrifies Ralf Rangnick. The coach of Turkey’s opponents in the round of 16, Austria, has managed to make football a science. For him, every goal, every win, every defeat is one thing above all: logical. Under head doctor Rangnick, the Austrian national team (as well as Rangnick’s previous clubs) has become a team of cold surgeons, with scalpels ready to dissect the opponent. On Tuesday, however, there are no fewer than eleven volcanoes on their operating table. And they really don’t need much to erupt and reduce the entire hospital to rubble.

Ordered chaos versus analytical pressing: Both teams have a lot in common – and yet they are very different

What both teams have in common: purely in terms of individual quality, they are probably not the top tier of European football, with a few exceptions. While Turkey are particularly carried by Hakan Calhanoglu and Arda Güler, the Austrians are dominated by Marcel Sabitzer and, to a lesser extent, Marko Arnautovic. Everything else is regulated by the teams’ team mentality. And that, in turn, couldn’t be more different.

Turkey, under coach Vincenzo Montella, is playing what his opponent would least like: (organized) chaos. The group matches of the “Crescent Stars” were sometimes wild. They managed to force their opponents into an open exchange of blows, especially against Georgia and the Czech Republic – with the better (and happier) ending for themselves. The final scenes against the Czechs were telling: The Turks only managed to score the 2:1 winning goal in the 94th minute. After that: chaos, pack formation. In the end, Montella’s team received 12 yellow cards – and were eliminated from the round of 16.

The Austrians, on the other hand, play more analytically, but no less entertainingly. Rangnick has managed to create one of his pressing machines from a squad of stable, but not outstanding players. As at previous stations in Hoffenheim or Leipzig, he has already left a lasting mark on the football of the ÖFB. Many tackles, quick diagonal and through passes characterize his game. Surgical precision from the Alpine country. There is no need for dribbling artists who attempt the umpteenth stepover. The Ö collective uses the spaces so well thanks to Rangnick’s tactical expertise that even the odd technical glitch is not a problem.

European Championship round of 16: Who wins the game will also depend on how the atmosphere is handled

Turkey played twice in Dortmund and once in Hamburg. The fans made all three games home games. The Turkish fans are known for their fanaticism in the stadium. They are the ones who cause the Turkish volcanoes to erupt time and time again. The question will be whether they can do the same in Leipzig. If so, it will be difficult for Austria to defend itself against the mixture of physicality and atmosphere. Because one thing is certain: after the crushing 1:6 defeat against Austria in a friendly match in March, the Turks certainly still have a score to settle.

However, that doesn’t mean that the ÖFB has no chance. In the second group match, Portugal managed not to get involved in an emotional battle against Turkey. Early goals pulled the plug on the Turkish fans and the team. If the Austrians manage to let the Turkish euphoria bounce off their coolness and don’t lose themselves in chaotic scenes like the Czech Republic or Georgia, they have a good chance of steering the round of 16 operation in their direction with a steady hand.

It will certainly help that the Turkish captain and midfield director Calhanoglu will be missing due to a yellow card suspension, as will defense boss Samet Akaydin.

Source: Stern

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