Turkey in do-or-die game against Iceland

Turkey in do-or-die game against Iceland

Turkey in do-or-die game against Iceland

Turkey, currently in third position in Group I of its FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, will host Iceland in a critical match on Oct. 6.
Rival Iceland is on 16 points, two ahead of Turkey and only behind leader Croatia on goal difference.

Winning the match is the only option for Turkey if it wants to take its chances to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, to be held in Russia next summer, to the final round of games.

In the previous Turkey-Iceland fixture in Reykjavik, Iceland won 2-0.

Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan will appear in his 100th national team game for Turkey if Mirca Lusescu, who over as manager from Fatih Terim in August, selects him.

“This is very crucial game. ‘Never give up’ is our philosophy,” wrote Turkish Football Federation head Yıldırım Demirören in the booklet prepared ahead of the game, which will be played in the Central Anatolian city of Eskişehir.

Turkey carried its hopes of qualifying by beating Croatia 1-0 at home on Sept. 5. It will face Finland, which has already lost its qualification chances, on Oct. 9 in its final qualification stage game.

Leader Croatia will host Finland on Oct. 6, before it plays against Ukraine away in the wide open group. Ukraine and Turkey are equal on 14 points.

The winners of the nine European groups go directly to Russia next year while the best eight of the nine runners-up will clash in playoffs over two legs for a further four spots.

Elsewhere, France has seen Layvin Kurzawa pull out of the squad for their final 2018 World Cup qualifiers with a knee injury suffered in training, joining fellow defenders Benjamin Mendy and Laurent Koscielny on the sidelines.

The Paris Saint-Germain left-back has sprained knee ligaments, leaving France with defensive troubles for their matches in Bulgaria on Oct. 7 and against Belarus at the Stade de France three days later.

Marseille defender Jordan Amavi, 23, has been called up as a replacement.

Kurzawa was named in the squad despite being the recent victim of a blackmail plot involving a video of the 25-year-old mocking France coach Didier Deschamps, although the footage has not been made public.

Barcelona left-back Lucas Digne is now likely to start the two games, which France needs to win to be sure of automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Manchester City full-back Mendy has a serious knee injury and could be out for the rest of the season, while Arsenal center-back Koscielny has an Achilles problem.

Deschamps is also without Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.

France top Group A with 17 points, one ahead of Sweden, while the Netherlands are third on 13 ahead of Bulgaria (12), Belarus and Luxembourg.