Turkey to play do-or-die game against Hungary
Turkey’s future in the UEFA Nations League hangs on the results of the final games in its group on Nov. 18, as it visits Hungary and Serbia hosts Russia.
After a 3-2 win over Russia on Nov. 15, Turkey sits in the third spot in League B Group 3 with six points in five games, with Serbia in the fourth with three. Russia leads the group with eight points on goal difference ahead of Hungary.
Turkey may be promoted to League A, remain in League B, or even be relegated to League C based on the results of Nov. 18’s games.
With the group leader being promoted and the bottom team being relegated, Turkey will be promoted if it beats Hungary and Russia does not beat Serbia.
The country will be relegated if it loses to Hungary and Serbia beats Russia.
In such an important game, Turkey will miss the services of Leicester city players Cengiz Ünder, who will serve an automatic one-game ban for receiving four yellow cards in group games and defender Çağlar Söyüncü, who is injured.
Lile defender Zeki Çelik was also removed from the squad after picking up an injury in the Russia game.
Speaking after the Russia game, Turkey coach Şenol Güneş said he was happy with his players’ “desire to win.”
“We needed this win, the country needed this win,” the experienced coach said, noting that Turkey had drawn in its three games in the group after losing the opener against Hungary at home.
“I’m happy with the result but we know where our problems are,” he added.
“Now we will play a final-like game against Hungary, it will be good.”
The game at Puskas Arena will kick off at 10:45 p.m. Turkish time.
Meanwhile, England manager Gareth Southgate has insisted a “dead” Nations League match against Iceland remains a valuable exercise ahead of next year’s European Championships despite the concerns of clubs over possible injuries to players.
Both teams will kick off at Wembley on Nov. 18 unable to go any further in this year’s tournament, with England’s 2-0 loss away to Belgium on Nov. 15 ending its hopes of reaching the Nations League finals after it finished third in the inaugural edition.
Meanwhile Iceland, which knocked England in the last 16 out of Euro 2016 with a stunning 2-1 win -- a result that led to the resignation of then England manager Roy Hodgson -- was relegated from the top tier last month.
But with the Euros delayed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, Southgate has urged those selected to make a case for retaining their places in the England set-up.
“In terms of Iceland, it’s still a game that gives opportunities for people to cement a place in the team or in the squad,” he said.
“Again, we’ll find out a lot now because for sure there’ll be a lot of pressure from some clubs on their own players. That’s what we live with consistently.”
“But we’ve got players that want to play for England and we have pride in the way we play and we want to finish the game well,” the former England international added.