Sunday 22 April 2018

Champions Spain winning numbers game

Turkey coach Fatih Terim (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Turkey coach Fatih Terim (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Jim White

When he is motivating his team ahead of their crucial fixture with Spain in Nice, Turkey coach Fatih Terim might be advised not to mention the statistics. They do not make comforting reading for anyone seeking to derail the reigning double champions.

Spain have not lost a game at the Euros since 2004. What is more, they have played over 600 minutes of Euro finals football since they last conceded a goal. Plus when it comes to Turkey, in their last six meetings, the Spaniards have let only one goal in.

But then, whoever they are playing, it is usually comfortable for Spain. In their opening game against the Czech Republic, they looked, well, very Spain.

They greedily dominated possession, but they needed an 87th-minute goal from defender Gerard Pique to win 1-0.

Manager Vicente Del Bosque tried his best to suggest that the inability to turn possession into goals is not an issue over which he loses much sleep.

"Everyone wants to score more goals but we have not been too bad these last few years, playing this style," he insisted. "We had the game completely under control and that is the important thing."

Terim could do with such problems. His side's tame defeat to Croatia on Monday was blamed back home in Turkey on the lacklustre display of captain Arda Turan, who issued a public apology. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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