International friendly: Russia vs Turkey – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
The World Cup hosts Russia will be aiming to get some momentum heading into the tournament when they face Turkey.
17:00 BST, Tuesday 5th June, Arena CSKA (Moscow, Russia)
As they head to the World Cup, Russia are in dreadful form with four defeats in their last five games.
Russia boss, Stanislav Cherchesov, is now under serious pressure heading into the tournament as the expectations for the hosts was to get far in this summer’s tournament, yet the form leading up to it suggests that Russia could well be cannon fodder.
Turkey, on the other hand, did not qualify for this summer’s tournament as they finished way off the pace in qualification.
But their recent form has been good as they are undefeated in their last four games, winning two and drawing two.
The sides have faced off three times in recent memory with Russia winning two and drawing the other, they will need that form to continue as they desperately need a confidence boost heading into this summer’s tournament.
Last time out Turkey drew 2-2 against Tunisia while Russia lost 1-0 against Austria.
Russia could name an unchanged side for this game from their 1-0 defeat against Austria but we suspect there could be some tinkering to the lineup by boss Cherchesov.
Alan Dzagoev could start in place of Daler Kuzyayev while Fyodor Smolov should start again upfront.
Umut Bulut should get the nod upfront against Russia after Cenk Tosun was sent off against Tunisia. Turkey could name the same team minus Tosun against Russia as they look to build on their draw against Tunisia last time out.
Keymen: Fyodor Smolov (Russia) vs Umut Bulut (Turkey)
As Russia stutter towards the World Cup, their eyes will turn to FC Krasnodar striker Smolov to try to inspire them to victory.
14 goals this season has put Smolov in the position to lead the line for Russia and his predatory striking abilities will need to be at their best if Russia are to gain any momentum heading into the tournament.
His pace, skill, and finishing will be key for Stanislav Cherchesov’s men.
With Everton striker Cenk Tosun receiving a red card last time out, it is likely that Bulut will be given the chance to play upfront against Russia.
Bulut has scored ten goals in 39 games for Turkey and the veteran striker netted 14 goals this season for Kayserispor.
Key talking points
Are Russia really this bad?
The stuttering Russians surely are not as bad as their recent form is suggesting? The side possesses some terrific players yet seem to flounder against every opponent they have faced.
Are they this bad? Probably not. Maybe they are saving their best performances for the World Cup?
Either way, we will know if Russia are the real deal after their opening game against Saudi Arabia where they are expected to win comfortably.
Can Turkey become a football power again?
A disappointing couple of years for Turkey culminated in them missing the World Cup. Recent form has improved as Mircea Lucescu has stamped his identity on the team.
Their most recent results have been satisfactory with two wins and two draws as the team gears up for the European qualifiers that begin in September.
Prediction: Russia 1-0 Turkey
The Russians will get a much-needed victory before the start of the World Cup against Turkey. It may not be pretty and it may not be enough to stop the worries of the Russia fans – but a win will give them a massive confidence boost.
However, do not be surprised to see Turkey spoil the party as they have been improving over recent games.
Can Russia finally win? Let us know below.