Euro 2024: Portugal vs Turkey Preview - “We need all 23 outfield players”

Portugal boss Roberto Martínez has remained coy on his team selection ahead of their second group-stage game versus Turkey tomorrow night, live from the Signal Iduna Park.

The 5pm BST kick-off pins Group F’s first and second-placed nations together, with a win enough to progress the Seleção through to the round of last 16.

After coming back from a goal down to defeat Czechia 2-1, courtesy of a Francisco Conceição winner off the bench, Martínez was evasive over how he intends to set up versus Turkey, stating that “all 23 outfield players need to be prepared to feature”.

When questioned over Conceição’s potential inclusion in the XI, speaking at his pre-match press conference, the ex-Belgium head coach said: “We have 23 outfield players, 10 in our starting line-up. What’s important is that all are prepared.

“Chico (Conceição) entered and showed us why he’s in the squad. Pedro Neto too. We need all our players to be prepared. Being in the first XI isn’t the most important thing for our players in this moment.”

On Ronaldo’s presence

One man likely to feature is the ever-present Cristiano Ronaldo, who has had concerns built around him over playing twice in a week at the ripe age of 39.

Martínez rejects calls for caution, pointing towards Ronaldo’s invaluable experience and knowhow to navigate the situation.

“Do you know how many minutes Ronaldo played, last season?” the Spanish boss asked. “He’s experienced. No other player has player has featured in six European Championships. It’s important to recognise what the player brings.

“Cristiano brings experience, goalscoring opportunities and a way of opening up space. He had three shots on target - the forward with the most shots on target.

“For Chico’s goal, the space is created because Ronaldo is available in the box. Cristiano’s in the squad because he deserves to be.”

Martínez’s words were backed by Turkey’s Merih Demiral, a former Juventus team-mate of Ronaldo’s, as he warned his international team-mates of the threat the leading Portuguese goalscorer still possesses.

“He is a very professional player, who sets an example for everyone,” Demiral says. “He was in good shape when we played against each other in Saudi Arabia.”

“He hasn’t lost anything. He is always very dangerous, a very big player. It is not easy to score this amount of goals at the age of 39. Of course, we need to be very careful as a defence.”

The Opposition

Martínez also turned his attention to the opposition, who come into the encounter off the back of an eye-catching 3-1 victory over Georgia.

On the opponent, Martínez stated that “they’re very strong centrally. We have to be very compact in the way that we play and have a clear idea of how to stop them.

“We need to control the game and play with width. Turkey can defend, but they do so with the intention of attacking. Their last goal against Georgia proved that.”

The 50-year-old manager also left a special mention for Real Madrid starlet Arda Güler, who claimed Ronaldo’s record as the new youngest European Championships goalscorer with his curling effort against Georgia.

On the danger man, Martínez said: “We know he’s an exceptional talent. He has an exceptional left foot. Turkey’s a very efficient team that creates space for its young players.”


Portugal are unbeaten against Turkey in official competitions, with the last meeting between the two in the European Championships coming in 2008 - an encounter won by the Seleção following goals from Pepe and Raúl Meireles.

Turkey pride themselves in shutting Ronaldo out in the three occasions that the Al-Nassr striker has faced them, however, with Ronaldo yet to score against the upcoming opponent.

But Portugal currently hold bragging rights over Turkey, winning the final meeting between the two 3-1 back in a 2022 friendly, whereas ‘The Crescent-Stars’ have to go back to 2012 for their last taste of victory against Portugal.

PortuGOAL’s predicted Portugal XI vs. Turkey: Diogo Costa - João Cancelo, Rúben Dias, Pepe, Nuno Mendes - João Palhinha, Vitinha, Bruno Fernandes - Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo


By Patrick Ribeiro