On Wednesday, Netherlands begin their quest to reach the 2022 World Cup with a clash against Turkey in Istanbul. Kick-off is at 17.00.

After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, Netherlands are determined to reach the Qatar 2022 tournament, but standing in their way are Turkey, Norway, Latvia, Gibraltar, and Montenegro.

Frank de Boer had a poor start as Netherlands boss, not winning any of his opening four games in charge, but they did book wins over Bosnia and Herzegovina (3-1) and Poland (2-1) last November.

De Boer will want to keep that winning feeling going in the first game of the World Cup qualifiers against Turkey in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Turkey is a nation on the rise and has a squad packed full of talented youngsters with a good mix of experience. They qualified for the European Championships by finishing second in a group that contained France. Turkey beat the French side at home and drew away in an impressive campaign which saw them lose only once. They followed that up with a mixed Nations League campaign, and they exited in the group stages after a final game loss to Hungary.

Coached by Senol Gunes, Turkey have lost only one of their last 12 games at home and De Boer thinks they will be a tough opponent, “Turkey currently has a very good selection, with many players from top leagues. Three central defenders play at top clubs in the major leagues. Çalhanoglu plays for AC Milan. It means that things are going in the right direction with Turkish football.”

Team News

De Boer has a number of choices to make in his side with a number of positions up for grabs in his side. Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay are certain to start but other than that, De Boer will have to make choices.

Jeremiah St Juste and Ryan Gravenberch could both make their debuts for Oranje.

He will probably stick with a 4-3-3 for the trip to Turkey but Maarten de Roon could be a second anchor in the midfield to provide protection to the defence.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Dumfries, Blind, De Ligt, Veltman, De Roon, De Jong, Wijnaldum, Berghuis, Bergwijn, Memphis

Feyenoord midfielder Orkun Kokcu is in the Turkey squad, along with former Go Ahead Eagles midfielder Deniz Turuc, who now plays with Istanbul Basaksehir. Both are likely to start on the bench.

Turkey have a strong defence marshalled by Leicester City star Caglar Soyuncu and Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral. Up front, Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun could get the nod.

Possible Turkey line-up: Gunok; Celik, Soyuncu, Demiral, Erkin; Yazici, Turfan, Yokuslu, Calhanoglu, Karaman; Tosun

Preview Meetings

Netherlands have met Turkey on 12 different occasions with Oranje coming out on top in five of those, while four have ended in a draw.

The last meeting was during the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 with Turkey winning 3-0 on a dark night for the Dutch national team.


Turkey 15/4 Draw 3/1 Netherlands 4/6

Can Netherlands begin with a victory?

The first game of 2021 is a tricky one for De Boer’s side with Turkey a team more than capable of challenging the Netherlands for top spot in the group.

Starting the World Cup group with a victory would be huge for Oranje in what is possibly their trickiest tie in the group. To get that, Netherlands will need to be tight defensively, and sharp up front. Turkey has a strong centre-back duo and Memphis will need to be on form to get any joy.

With easier ties to come against Latvia and Gibraltar, Netherlands may be happy with an away draw to kick off the group. However, a win would be huge and confidence-boosting ahead of the Euro’s this summer. A defeat would increase the pressure on De Boer after an indifferent start to his reign.

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