Turkey play host to the Netherlands at Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Wednesday for the opening clash in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as the two get UEFA's Group G underway. The two countries share deep links, and both could do with getting the better of the other to make a swift start to this process.
Frank de Boer is now Dutch coach and while his team is solid, they are far from spectacular, while the Turks have plenty of talent that it is up to Senol Gunes to mold into a successful squad. With Erling Haaland's Norway also in the group, neither team can afford too many slip ups during this qualification campaign.
Here is how you can watch the match and what to know:
- Date: Wednesday, Mar. 24 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Location: Ataturk Olympic Stadium -- Istanbul, Turkey
- TV and Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Turkey +380; Draw +260; Netherlands -138 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Turkey NT call up 🇹🇷— Turkish Football (@Turkish_Futbol1) March 19, 2021
Surprised Salih Uçan didn’t get called up tbh
Otherwise it’s a strong squad. World class defence with Çağlar Söyüncü, Merih Demiral, Ozan Kabak and Mehmet Zeki Çelik
But would a left back please stand up !!! pic.twitter.com/Vc2A1r2cOh
Back in his second spell in charge of the Crescent Stars, Gunes is having a tough time and his team finished bottom of League B Group 3 of UEFA's Nations League.
Talented Lille OSC trio Burak Yilmaz, Yusuf Yazici and Zeki Celik combine with the likes of AC Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu and Leicester City's Caglar Soyuncu to form a formidable group on paper.
However, Turkey's last appearance at a World Cup was under Gunes back in 2002 when they stunned the world with a third-place finish in their first appearance since 1954. Internationally, they've had more frequent appearances at Euros where they reached the 2008 semi-finals.
De Boer is taking his time to get used to his new surroundings at an international level. He accepted the job after an unsuccessful stint with Atlanta United in Major League Soccer when Ronald Koeman left for Barcelona.
The Dutch have won two, drawn three and lost one of his six matches in charge so far and finished second in League A Group 1 of the Nations League behind Italy.
An entertaining and fiery opener to the qualifiers. Pick: Turkey 2-2 Netherlands.