This game was played in round five group B of UEFA Nations League. National team of Russia has some troubles with result in last four games. Turkey had a draw in their last five games. So, the hosts wanted to get a desired victory, Russian team wanted to continue fighting for the first place. Let’s look at our tactical analysis.

Lineups

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

Senol Gunes, who is the Turkey national team head coach, chose basic 4-1-4-1 formation. There were three good players in the center: Hakan Calhanoglu from AC Milan, hard-working Ozan Tufan from Fenerbahce and Okay Yokuslu from Celta de Vigo. The main creative player in attack was Cengiz Under from EPL side Leicester City. Gunes chose Cenk Tosun like a central forward, because the captain and the main striker Burak Yilmaz wasn’t able to participate in this game.

National team of Russia had a big problems with the squad, because some important footballers were injured. So, the head coach Stanislav Cherchesov chose 3-4-3 basic formation. His team had two high-class wingers: Denis Cheryshev from Valencia and Aleksey Miranchuk from Atalanta. Defensive line contained Fedor Kudryashov, who is currently playing in Turkey Super Lig for Antalyaspor.

Game structure until Semenov was sent off

The first step of our analysis is to look at how teams were planning to attack and defend. Let’s begin from Turkey offensive phase. As it usually goes, team, which plays 3-4-3 formation, uses 5-2-3 defensive structure. The hosts tried to use two schemes in order to break an opponent’s defence. Sometimes they used 3-4-3 formation. The aim was to mirror Russian 5-2-3. We can see it on the frame.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

When situation on the field was suitable, they tried to use 4-2-4 system in order to progress the ball forward by vertical combinations. Team of Russia tried to do a high-pressing movements in these moments. Two Turkish defensive midfielders went down, two fullbacks tried to do a field wider. Sometimes, one of four-man offensive group helped them not to loose the ball in this dangerous zone.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

To sum up, let’s look at tactical scheme of Turkish offensive phase.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

Now it’s turn to analyze how team of Russia wanted to attack. Turkey used 4-1-4-1 and sometimes 4-4-2 formations in defensive phase, that’s why guests tried to use the width of the field. Turkey tried to keep a compactness in order not to allow to ruin their defensive structure.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

Game structure after the red card

Russian central defender Andrey Semenov was sent off in 24 minute. It caused a need for the guests to change their game structure. Since this moment, team of Russia used two main formations: 4-4-1 and 4-3-2. This change was depending on movements of Cheryshev and Alexey Miranchuk.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

National team of Turkey tried to create overloads on the right flank with their attacks. Zeki Celik played an important role in these movements. We can see it on the next frame.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

Then Stanislav Cherchesov substituted Cheryshev to Vyacheslav Karavaev, who became the right defender. His team kept on 4-4-1 and 4-3-2 defensive formations in order to hold out until the pause between the two game halfs.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

It would be better to analyze this game phase with the help of next tactical picture.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

Team of Russia tried to defend the center in order to let the opponent U-shaped ball moving. Also they tried to create 3vs3 situation in the center of the field.

Second half

Team of Russia tried to use two main formations in defensive phase: 4-4-1 and 4-3-2. When they were on the ball, they use 4-2-3 or 3-4-2 systems. It was depended on a game situation. When the 4-2-3 system was used, there was the aim to mirror Turkish defensive 4-4-2. Sometimes the hosts tried to use this scheme in order to create a 4vs4 situation forward and 2 vs 2 situation in the center. It was absolutely safely, because there was a 4vs3 situation on the other side. It was a good tactics.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

When the 3-4-2 structure was used, there was the aim to use the width of the field. It was an attempt to play like they wanted at the beginning of the game.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

As it was said earlier, team of Russia used 4-4-1 and 4-3-2 formations in defensive phase. When the 4-3-2 system was used, the aim was to create 3vs3 situation in the center and 4vs3 situation near the back line. It can be clearly seen in the next tactical picture.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

When Caner Erkin and Kaan Ayhan was moving forward and wider, defensive structure of the guests was turning to 4-4-1. It was helping them didn’t let the opponent to use the width of the field. So, it was a 5vs4 situation in the center. One Russian forward Alexander Erokhin was playing against two Turkish central defenders.

Conclusion

Despite the fact, that Andrey Semenov was sent off in 24 minute, team of Russia played better, than the opponent. Stats can show, that Russian players created more qualitative chances to score a goal, than Turkey.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21: Turkey vs Russia - tactical analysis - tactics

May be, it could be better for the Turkish team to play faster and create more chances in the first half in order to avoid a failure in the second half. It seems to me, that using 3-2-5 offensive formation would be better to make a score something like 3-1 after the first half. When you have a two-goal difference, you are feeling yourself more safely, when you don’t. So, I strongly believe, that Turkey team has some problems with psychology. Senol Gunes will solve these problems without any issue. It’s a great football coach and tactician – we had an opportunity to understand it at the beginning of his work in Turkey national team.

Alexander Burakov