EUROPE: World Cup – Qualification
Time: 7:45 PM
Venue: Ülker Stadyumu (Istanbul)
Turkey will once again hope to make a mark on the World Cup after their heroic third-place finish at the 2002 edition, their last appearance at the finals. Going unbeaten in their first five fixtures of World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) for Qatar 2022 was a good start, but it came to an abrupt halt last time out as they lost 6-1 to Group G leaders the Netherlands.
That result capped off a poor six-game run of form for the Turks (W1, D1, L4) who were pegged by many to be a dark horse at Euro 2020 before losing all of their group games. However Turkey won the reverse fixture vs Norway handsomely 3-0 back in March, and the tight three-way battle at the top of Group G means a win here would see Turkey leapfrog Norway into second place and potentially into first if things go their way elsewhere.
Norway manager Ståle Solbakken will be galvanizing his troops to carry the momentum they have after losing only two of their last nine internationals (W5, D2), including a 5-1 mauling of Gibraltar in their previous WCQ. The ‘Lions’ are currently level on points with the first-placed Dutch, and will know this is a must win clash if they’re to reach only their fourth-ever World Cup finals and first since 1998.
Unfortunately, history does not favour Norway here, as they’ve got the better of their Turkish counterparts only twice in nine previous H2H meetings (D2, L5), the last of which came over 21 years ago! This could be a back-and-forth affair though given the magnitude of this game in the scope of Group G, combined with the fact both teams have scored in six of those nine H2Hs.
Players to watch: Turkish wideman Cengiz Ünder has two goals in his last two international starts, while Norway’s Kristian Thorstvedt has three goal contributions in his four WCQ matches so far (G2, A1).
- Turkey’s form in last 5 matches: LWDLL.
- Norway’s form in last 5 matches: WWDLW
PREDICTION: Home Total Goal Over 0.5