Netherlands welcome Turkey in what could be a potential six-pointer in both teams’ dream of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Netherlands take on Turkey in what could be a massive clash for both sides in their campaign to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Senol Gunes’ side are currently top of Group G and hold a one-point advantage over their opponents with three games played.
A loss will dent Netherlands’s hopes of qualifying as group winners. That coupled with a win for Norway could see the Scandinavians overtake the Dutch to the second spot and occupy the playoff spot. While there are still five more matches to go before the final standings are clear, Netherlands will hope to avoid a repeat of their failure to qualify for Russia 2018.
Louis van Gaal’s side put up an excellent performance to down Montenegro 4-0 at the weekend. Turkey will, however, represent a bigger challenge and despite playing at home, the Dutch cannot afford to let their guard down.
Netherlands have already faced defeat at the hand of their opponents earlier in the campaign. A Burak Yilmaz hat-trick propelled the Turks to a 4-2 defeat over their vaunted opponents in their first match of the group. The margin for error is quite thin and Van Gaal will hope his side will step up and take the bull by the horns on Tuesday night.
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Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk was rested for Netherlands’s win over Montenegro at the weekend. It will be a surprise if he does not return to the starting lineup against Turkey. Arguably the world’s best defender, the Dutch colossus’ presence will be a massive boost for van Gaal’s men.
Van Dijk’s return could see Matthijs de Ligt drop to the bench. Van Gaal could opt to go in with a 4-3-3 that sees van Dijk and Stefan de Vrij form the backbone of his defence with Justin Bijlow in goal. Daley Blind looks set to start at left-back after missing the last game due to suspension while Denzel Dumfries could be retained as the starting right-back.
The Dutch midfield three picks itself. Georginio Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong and Davy Klaassen pack a punch in the middle of the park and appear to be Van Gaal’s preferred starters.
Cody Gakpo is injured and has pulled out of the squad, while Nathan Ake is also unavailable owing to personal issues. Donyell Malen could replace Gakpo in attack, giving the Dutch a solid presence down the left. Memphis Depay looks set to lead the line with AFC Ajax star Steven Berghuis on the right.
Van Gaal’s side is superior on paper and it is about time they make the advantage count. A lot could depend on his team’s ability to retain control of the midfield.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bijlow; Dumfries, de Vrij, van Dijk, Blind; Wijnaldum, de Jong; Klaassen, Berghuis, Depay, Malen
Turkey go into the game as group leaders and have a chip on their shoulder after defeating the Netherlands in the return fixtures 4-2. Gunes is expected to go in with a 4-5-1 formation that will look to stifle the Dutch midfield and frontline.
Altay Bayindir looks set to start in goal with the duo of Merih Demiral and Kaan Ayhan ahead of him. The impressive Zeki Celik is likely to start on the right flank with Mert Muldur occupying the other full-back slot.
Both Hakan Calhanoglu and Kenan Karaman started on the bench at the weekend but should return to the starting lineup against the Netherlands. Calhanoglu alongside Yusuf Yazici and Okay Yokulsu will be tasked with engaging the Dutch midfield. Cengiz Under meanwhile could form a stellar partnership on the right alongside Celik.
The duo could provide an outlet for Buruk Yilmaz who scored a hat-trick against the Dutch in the return fixture. They could, however, get caught out if Malen is in the mood on the night.
Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Bayindir; Celik, Ayhan, Demiral, Muldur; Under, Yazici, Yokuslu, Calhanoglu, Karaman; Yilmaz
- Turkey are undefeated in their last six matches.
- Netherlands have lost just four of their last 38 games.
- Netherlands have won five of their 13 meetings with Turkey, with them losing four other matches (D4). Turkey have defeated the Oranje in their last two meetings by a combined score of 7-2.
Player to Watch
Memphis Depay (Netherlands)
The Barcelona forward will hold the key to his side’s attacking outlet on the night. The 27-year-old has started the season in good form, scoring two and assisting one in the Catalans’ first three games of the campaign
He has also scored four goals and made two assists in five World Cup qualifying games. Depay scored a brace against Montenegro at the weekend and goes into the game as his country’s ace forward. With Turkey likely to play a defence first system, how well Depay can break down their lines could make the difference on the night.
Netherlands 1-1 Turkey
While Netherlands do have the home advantage, Turkey have shown themselves to be capable of stepping up in the qualifiers. With a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign in their wake, they will be keen to book an early ticket to next summer’s showpiece event.
The onus is on Netherlands to take the game to their opponents. While Louis van Gaal does have the players at his disposal to do so, whether they will achieve it remains to be seen. The Dutch struggled to break down Norway last week and Turkey will present a much more challenging ask in comparison to the Scandinavians. The Hard Tackle is predicting this one to end in a tightly-contested stalemate.