Turkey International Break Preview
Turkey’s September international window started with a whimper rather than a bang on Wednesday night as their Euro 2020 form wobble continued against lowly Montenegro. If you are betting on World Cup qualifying and using this Paddy Power sign up offer, Turkey are still a good bet to go through but they need to start winning.
A thoroughly disappointing World Cup qualifier against FIFA’s 67th-ranked nation at Vodafone Park saw the Crescent-Stars turn a two-goal lead into a dismal 2-2 draw.
Ligue 1 duo Cengiz Under and Yusuf Yazici gave the hosts what appeared to be a comfortable two-goal advantage inside the opening 30 minutes.
However, Montenegro reduced the deficit through Lazio’s Adam Marusic on the stroke of half-time before FCSB defender Risto Radunovic gave the visitors a precious point in the 97th minute.
A frustrating night in Istanbul could throw a spanner in the works as Turkey desperately hope to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since their heroic third-place finish in 2002.
It is now up to Senol Gunes to rally his troops and try to get his side’s World Cup qualifying campaign back on track in the upcoming two fixtures.
Gibraltar – September 4
Widely dubbed ‘group of death,’ Group G currently sees just a single point separating the sides ahead of Matchday 5, so a victory is a must for the Turks.
Turkey will have two days to recover from a shocking result against Montenegro before they take on minnows Gibraltar at Victoria Stadium.
Although the abovementioned draw extended the Crescent-Stars’ unbeaten start to this World Cup qualifying campaign and kept them at the top of the section, Gunes’ side can ill-afford to drop any points here.
Given Gibraltar’s return of 14 defeats from as many World Cup qualifiers, it comes as no surprise that Turkey head into proceedings as overwhelming favourites to claim all three points.
The group walloping boys have conceded 64 goals across their 14 World Cup qualifying matches, so Burak Yilmaz and teammates should have a field day here.
A trip to lowly Gibraltar should provide Turkey with a prime opportunity to snap a four-game winless streak (D1, L3) and restore some confidence ahead of their blockbuster fixture against the Netherlands.
Netherlands – September 7
Turkey’s trip to Johan Cruijff Arena could play a pivotal role in their hopes of securing automatic passage to Qatar 2022.
After putting four past the Netherlands in an enthralling 4-2 home victory, Gunes’ men are likely to face their hosts’ wrath in the reverse fixture.
On a brighter note, a painful Euro 2020 elimination to the Czech Republic has undermined Oranje’s efforts to qualify for the World Cup finals.
Wednesday’s 1-1 away draw against Norway suggests that Louis van Gaal’s team have failed to shrug off the stress from another underwhelming result at major tournaments.
Albeit winless in any of their previous three World Cup qualifiers in the Netherlands (D1, L2), Turkey might smell a golden opportunity to upset the underperforming home side.
With Norway and Montenegro sniffing around, the Crescent-Stars will likely have to defy the odds in Amsterdam to keep realistic chances of buying a ticket for Qatar 2022.