Turkey set for tough test in Netherlands
Turkey will take on the Netherlands in an away game in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, hoping to put its campaign back on track.
After a perfect start to its Group G campaign, beating the Netherlands 4-2 in its opening game followed by a 3-0 victory at Norway, Turkey was held to draws at home by Latvia in March and Montenegro last week.
A disastrous Euro 2020 campaign in June, which saw Turkey lose all its three group matches, added to the team’s wounds as coach Şenol Güneş tries to find a balance between experienced players and a new generation of upcoming talented players who mostly play abroad.
A 3-0 win in Gibraltar on Sept. 4 kept Turkey atop the Group G standings with 11 points, ahead of the Netherlands which trails by one point, however, Güneş was aware that the real test for his side will come in Amsterdam.
“This match is over, now we want to play the Netherlands game and win it, or go back home with an advantage by grabbing a draw at least,” he said after the Gibraltar match.
“We are one point ahead, and Norway will come to us,” he added. “If we win [against Norway], we will make up for the lost points. We finished the first half of this race by scoring points with three goals in the last match.”
The experienced coach, who led Turkey to a third-place finish in the 2002 World Cup, noted that Turkey made a great start to the qualification campaign.
“We were much more peaceful in the Netherlands vs Norway games, there was no stress,” he said.
“It is a fact that there is a loss of self-confidence due to the results in the European Championship. I can see that our players, who have good intentions and characters, have a loss of confidence as a result. Their real test will be against the Dutch.”
The Netherlands, on the other hand, beat Montenegro 4-0 on Sept. 4 to give coach Louis van Gaal the first win of his third spell in charge, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Norway three days earlier.
Memphis Depay opened the scoring from the penalty spot and added a second just after the hour mark to put the Netherlands on course for a seventh straight home win.
Captain Georginio Wijnaldum put the result beyond doubt with the host’s third and Cody Gakpo rounded off the scoring 14 minutes from time with his first international goal.
Buoyed by the dazzling attacking display and result against Montenegro, a side ranked 55 places below the Netherlands, Wijnaldum is already looking ahead to the Turkey match.
“Hopefully we can give Turkey, one of our director competitors, a slap,” he told NOS.
“This was an important performance after our European Championship exit and the Norway game. We were disappointed with the result against Norway.”