Turkey moves to 2nd place in World Cup qualifying group with Estonia win

Turkey moves to 2nd place in World Cup qualifying group with Estonia win

Turkey moves to 2nd place in World Cup qualifying group with Estonia win

Turkey's players celebrate the opening goal against Estonia. REUTERS photo

Turkey kept its 2014 World Cup dreams alive after securing a 2-0 victory against Estonia in a tricky away game in Talinn on the night of Oct. 11.

Fatih Terim's boys moved to second in the Group D with 16 points, which virtually secures their place in the play-off stage, benefiting from The Netherlands' 8-1 demolition of Hungary and Romania's no nonsense victory in Andorra.

Towering striker Umut Bulut opened the scoring in the 22th minute with a perfectly timed header after a cross from Caner Erkin.

Fellow Galatasaray forward Burak Yılmaz doubled the scoring shortly after the break with an assist by Gökhan Töre.

Romania is third on the same number of points as Turkey, 16, but with a goal difference deficit of four compared to Turkey. Hungary, fourth with 14 points, also retains its second place chance ahead of the last game of the group.

However, the hardest part is yet to come for Fatih Terim's men, as they have to host the footballing powerhouse and leaders of the group, The Netherlands, on Oct. 15 in Istanbul. Rivals Hungary and Romania will enjoy more favorable contests at the same time, with home games against Andorra and Estonia respectively.

'We did not come here easily'

In his remarks after the game, Terim expressed his satisfaction with the triumph and said Turkey would try to achieve its improbable second place bid with a victory against the Dutch.

"We could have been playing against The Netherlands without any chance to qualify. It won't be easy, but we did not come here easily either," Terim said, adding that his three games in charge so far had been "very stressful" as many had claimed the team stood no chance of qualifying.

"The atmosphere and the strategy [against The Netherlands] will be different. We will try to win," he said.

In the event that Turkey succeeds in placing among the eight best second-placed teams of the qualifying groups, it will still have to face a two-leg play-off contest next month. Possible rivals include Croatia, Sweden, France, Portugal and Greece.

Turkey's hopes of qualifying for the Finals next summer in Brazil had appeared dead, but they have been miraculously revived with the return of charismatic manager Terim for his third spell in charge. His return has brought back-to-back wins against Andorra in Istanbul and Romania in Bucharest, as well as the latest victory against Estonia.