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Oranje, Turkiye meet in quarters on TSN


Johan Cruyff. Dennis Bergkamp. Clarence Seedorf. Edwin van der Sar. Arjen Robben. Robin van Persie. Wesley Sneijder.

Champions League winners, league title winners and a Ballon d’Or winner among them, but none of these men won a major international honour. For a country that has produced the number of supremely talented footballers that the Netherlands has, it’s almost improbable that UEFA Euro 1988 is the only major tournament ever won by the Oranje. That could all change later this month.

Ronald Koeman, a member of the Netherlands team that won the Euro in Germany back in ’88, has the chance for a repeat performance as he leads his Oranje side into the quarter-finals for the eighth time at a Euro and the first time since 2008. The Netherlands see a real path to a Euro final, but will have to contend with a Turkiye side who have played some of the most exciting football of the tournament first. The two countries meet with a spot in the semis on the line on Saturday in Berlin.

You can catch the Netherlands vs. Turkiye LIVE at UEFA Euro 2024 from Berlin with coverage getting underway at 2pm et/11am pt on TSN4, CTV, and the TSN App.

The match will mark the first time that the two countries have met at a major tournament before.

For Turkiye, the trip to the quarters is just the nation’s third at a Euro and fourth at a major tournament. Like the Oranje, it’s the first time they’re in the final eight since 2008.

‘‘I couldn’t sleep until 3am afterwards,” Benfica midfielder Orkun Kokcu, who is suspended for the quarters, said of the 2-1 win over Austria in the Round of 16. “I talked about the game with [Fenerbahce defender] Ferdi Kadioglu, my roommate, until that time. We produced a good performance in that game. I hope we can continue like this.’’

The victory over Austria was preserved by an absolute 10-bell save by Mert Gunok on Christoph Baumgartner from point-blank range in stoppage time.

"Mert did a great job, we had a big discussion after the final whistle and I couldn't believe my eyes - maybe one of the best saves I saw with my own eyes," veteran defender Merih Demiral, who scored both of Turkiye’s goals in the victory, said. "He deserves it, Mert is the oldest player on the team and has always guided us and shown us the path forward, so I am very happy he made that save."

Turkiye manager Vincenzo Montella, who was a runner-up at Euro 2000 with Italy as a player, is thrilled to have fans dreaming.

"We've got huge following,” Montella said. “There's passion and the love is really visceral back home in Turkey, so I'm very happy to have handed Turks a bit of pride.”

The excitement amongst Turkish fans in Germany has been palpable, too, with the nation home to one of the largest Turkish diasporas in the world. Veteran Oranje defender Daley Blind says his team should expect more of the same in Berlin.

"It will be [like] an away match, I think,” the Girona defender said. “The Turks will be there en masse. They are passionate, it will be an emotional match. We have to be on guard, we will have to be well prepared."

After having comfortably defeated Romania, 3-0, in the Round of 16 thanks to a master class from Liverpool winger Cody Gakpo, Blind acknowledges that the luck of the draw has been kind to the Oranje.

Should the Netherlands advance past Turkiye, they would meet England or Switzerland in the semifinals. While each of these teams will present different challenges, the route is a far cry from the final four of hosts Germany, Spain, Portugal and France on the other side of the bracket.

"We have been pretty lucky after the group stage, there's no need to deny that," the 34-year-old Blind said. "Look at the opponents of other countries... but on the other hand, smaller countries make it hard for the bigger ones."

While the trio of Demiral, who received a two-game ban for his goal celebration against Austria, a gesture associated with an ultranationalist group in Turkiye. Kokcu and Fenerbahce midfielder Ismail Yuksek, both been banned due to yellow-card accumulation, are unavailable, Montella will see German-born captain Hakan Calhanoglu once again eligible for selection after serving his one-match ban for booking accumulation against Romania. The influential Milan midfielder scored Turkiye’s opening goal in the 2-1 win over Czechia to wrap up group-stage play. Samet Akaydin also returns and is in line for a start in place of Demiral.

Worrying for Montella is that he has a lengthy list of players who face a suspension with one more booking. Gunok, Kaan Ayhan, Ugurcan Cakir, Zeki Celik, Arda Guler, Mert Muldur, Salih Ozcan and Kenan Yildiz will all be unavailable for a potential semi should they see a caution against the Oranje.

Koeman won’t have any restrictions when it comes to picking a lineup against Turkiye, but like Montella, he has a number of players who need to be careful of suspension. Denzel Dumfries, Donyell Malen, who scored twice against Romania, Jerdy Schouten and Joey Veerman will all receive one-match bans with another booking.

Saturday’s match will be the 15th all-time between the two teams. The Oranje hold a 6-4-4 edge, but Turkiye have won two of their last three meetings. The last time out, the Netherlands were a 6-1 winner in a 2022 World Cup qualifier in the fall of 2021 from Amsterdam. Memphis Depay notched a hat trick in the victory.

POTENTIAL NETHERLANDS XI (4-3-3): Bart Verbruggen; Denzel Dumfries, Stefan de Vrij, Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake ; Jerdy Schouten, Xavi Simons, Tijjani Reijnders ; Donyell Malen, Memphis Depay, Cody Gakpo

POTENTIAL TURKIYE XI (4-2-3-1): Mert Gunok; Mert Muldur, Samet Akaydin, Abdulkerim Bardakci, Ferdi Kadioglu; Okay Yokuslu, Kaan Ayhan; Kenan Yildiz, Hakan Calhanoglu, B.A. Yilmaz; Arda Guler