Turkey’s World Cup hopes set to be tested in Romania

Turkey’s World Cup hopes set to be tested in Romania

Turkey’s World Cup hopes set to be tested in Romania

Turkish national men’s football team has a rampant performance against Andorra, scoring five goals to boost morale ahead of tonight’s 2014 World Cup qualification game against Romania. AA Photo

Turkish national football team visits Romania tonight in its desperate bid to get a spot in the 2014 World Cup.

Turkey is fourth in the Group D, three points behind second Romania. The Netherlands is the runaway leader with 19 points, while third Hungary is also chasing a playoff spot with 11 points.

Turkey found some morale with a 5-0 victory over minnow Andorra on Sept. 6, when Fatih Terim was making his debut in his third spell as the national team coach.

Terim took over the vacant national team post after Abdullah Avcı resigned following a dismal performance. Terim was signed on a four-match deal, but his temporary job could be extended if he could lead Turkey to a victory in Romania.

Turkey lost 1-0 in the two teams’ first meeting last year.

Elsewhere in the group, Hungary hosts Estonia and the Netherlands takes on Andorra.

Meanwhile, Italy will look for another solid qualifying performance as they look to seal their ticket for the 2014 World Cup against the Czech Republic.

A win for Cesare Prandelli’s side would seal Italy’ trip to Brazil with two games remaining in Group B, which the Azzurri currently lead with a seven-point advantage on Bulgaria.

Key players

Italy are missing several players who featured in the 1-0 win over Bulgaria on Sept. 6 and the Czechs will be determined to produce a solid performance following a shock 2-1 defeat to Armenia which has compromised their hopes.

However Prandelli welcomes back several players who were missing in Palermo that should allow him to switch to a formation that has worked in past encounters.

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, missing Sept. 6 due to suspension, returns to the fray alongside club-mate, midfielder Riccardo Montolivo and Southampton striker Pablo (Pablo) Osvaldo.

Their return means Prandelli is likely to switch from the 4-3-2-1 used against Bulgaria with goalscorer Alberto Gilardino the lone striker, to a possible 3-5-2.

Tonight’s match at the Olympic Stadium could be cause for another celebration as Gianluigi is expected to make his 136th appearance for Italy and thus equal the all-time national record held by retired Fabio Cannavaro.

England is also missing key players up front, meaning it could be forced to rely upon a makeshift attacking configuration in tonight’s pivotal World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in Kiev.

Last week’s breezy 4-0 win over Moldova elevated Roy Hodgson’s side to the top of European qualifying Group H, but a booking for Danny Welbeck ruled the Manchester United forward out of Tuesday’s game.

Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge was subsequently ruled out due to a thigh strain, and with Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll currently injured, it leaves Hodgson with a quandary at the sharp end of the pitch.