Turkey vs Kosovo: A must-win for Fatih Terim’s men

Turkey return to World Cup qualification action on Saturday with a home clash against Kosovo in Antalya, with the hosts in dire need of there first win of the campaign.

A 2-0 defeat to Iceland in their last game means that Fatih Terim’s men have ground to make up, but the clash with the minnows should be an ideal opportunity to close the gap with three points.

Kosovo are clearly the weakest team in Group I and given that they have conceded ten goals in their first three games, it would be wise to wager your free £100 bet from Betway on a Turkish victory.

The Turks are in a tough qualification pool alongside Iceland, Ukraine, Finland and Croatia, with a slow start to qualification resulting in two draws and a defeat in the side’s opening three games.

Realistically, for Terem’s men to play a role in 2018’s competition in Russia, putting together a couple of consecutive victories is necessary.

There is no reason that three wins in a row cannot be achieved, with Kosovo to be played twice and a home clash with Finland between now and June.

With top teams Croatia and Iceland facing off in Zagreb in World Cup qualifying on Saturday also, the gap to top spot could well be shortened.

After not progressing past the group stage at Euro 2016, Turkey are in a slightly transitional phase but the starting XI is filled with players of considerable talent.

The creative exploits of Hakan Calhanoglu and Oguzhan Ozyakup continue to be a driving force of the national team, while the side is based around a seasoned rearguard.

Arda Turan returns to the national fold after a strong start to the club season with Barcelona, but Caner Erkin is not included in the group.

With only the top-placed team in each group guaranteed a place in Russia and Turkey already five points adrift of the frontrunners, getting to the World Cup through the playoffs may well be the side’s best chance.

There is little doubting the ability and standard of Turkey’s top players but consistency and living up to the collective billing is something that has escaped the national team in recent years.