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Turkish Delight

(Andrew Yang/TIS)

This upcoming Euros will showcase the best football athletes from around Europe’s most prominent nations. Everyone will be looking for their favourite players and hoping to see all the stars shine. For those looking for some of the unsung heroes that could deliver in this tournament, look no further than Turkish duo Burak Yilmaz and Yusuf Yazici. These two Turkish strikers both play in France at club level for LOSC Lille. Just coming off of a season-winning campaign to barely beat usual Ligue One dominators PSG, the Turkish duo had a massive part to play in their successful campaign.

35-year-old Burak Yilmaz is the more experienced of the two and has had a long history of playing in both Europe and Asia in his long illustrious career. Mainly playing in Turkey, Burak Yilmaz is a more than familiar face around the national team and many of its talents and veterans. Playing for the national team 66 times and having been given the captain's armband, Yilmaz has netted 28 times and assisted five in the 15 years he’s played for them. This season alone for LOSC Lille after transferring to them last summer, in 33 games the Turkish tank has scored 18 goals and assisted five in all competitions for Lille as they finished the league in first. Mainly playing at center forward, his strength and clinical finishing makes the 6’2’ man a menace for defenders who aren’t on the physical side.

Beside Yilmaz will look to be Yusuf Yazici, a 24-year-old attacker who plays beside the veteran for the same club, LOSC Lille. While not as prolific, Yazici has established himself in Lille’s first team by playing in 67 games the last two seasons, scoring 15 goals and assisting nine as well. A big part of the 2021 Ligue One winners, Yazici is a versatile attacker who has played at center forward, attacking midfield and even on the right-wing as well. Playing for the same club Yilmaz had played for earlier in his career, Yazici played 100 games for Turkish club Trabzonspor and had 43 goal contributions in the four years he played for their first team. A consistent player who has a big role for the clubs he’s played for, on national level Yazici’s playmaking abilities are where he strives the best. Only having 30 caps for the national team, Yazici has only scored one goal but assisted seven times during their respective qualifications for the World Cup and Euro Cup as well.

After an outstanding season for Lille, the two Ligue 1 winners are looking like the favourites to start up front for the Turkish national side. In a group that contains Italy, Switzerland and Wales, the Turks will have to be clinical and aggressive if they want to move forward in the competition. Having other stars such as Leicester City’s Cengiz Ünder, AC Milan’s Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Juventus’ Merih Demiral, Turkey has a very strong supportive team that shouldn’t be ruled out this upcoming Euro’s. Playing some very hard squads, Turkey certainly has the firepower to succeed, watch them play their first game in the inaugural start to the Euro’s against Italy on June 11.

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