Turkey meets Ghana in tune-up for World Cup qualifiers
Members of the Turkish national football team attends a training session in Istanbul before the friendly match against Ghana. AA PhotoThe Turkish national football team meets Ghana in a friendly game at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium tonight.
Hoping to find its rhythm ahead of two crucial games next month, Turkey will try to fine tune its strategy before the 2014 World Cup qualifying games.
“Playing against one of the most important teams of African football will be an important test,” coach Abdullah Avcı said at a press conference yesterday. “I hope we play well and get the result that we failed to recently – to get a morale boost before September.”
Turkey will visit Romania on Sept. 10 in a key game, four days after hosting continental pushover Andorra.
Six games into the 2014 World Cup qualification, Turkey is fourth in the Group D, left far behind the Netherlands, which leads with 18 points. Hungary is second with 11 points and Romania is third with 10 points. Turkey, which lost to Romania and Hungary in key games, is just fourth with seven points, and will make a desperate bid to get second place in the group for a playoff spot on the way to Brazil.
Avcı said the Romania game would be decisive and refused to give up hope.
“The Romania game will be worthy of a final. Anything can change in 90 minutes,” Avcı said. “Our chances [of making it to the World Cup] could be seen as at 5 percent now. But we can take our chances to 90 percent after just one game. We want to use our chance in the best way possible.”
Avcı’s performance as the national team coach has been largely disappointing, since he has led the team to only six wins in 17 matches, losing eight times.
The former Istanbul BB manager, who is having his first shot at senior-level international football coaching, admitted that he and the team feel the pressure, but said it was not necessarily in a negative way.
“We are trying to do the best we can,” the coach said.
Tonight’s game at Atatürk Olympic Stadium starts at 9 p.m.