Our football match prediction:
Iceland did well to share the spoils with Ukraine in their opener and Heimir Hallgrimsson’s men showed character in a come-from behind win over Finland in midweek. The Icelanders scored two late goals in the 3-2 triumph over the Nordic team and, as a result, they are level on points with Group I leaders Croatia ahead of Sunday’s football match against Turkey. The Turks shared the spoils with Ukraine in their second group game, with Calhanoglu scoring a late equaliser from the penalty spot and Fatih Terim’s men will be looking to record their first win in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers when they square off against Iceland at Laugardalsvollur on Sunday. Last time out Iceland rolled over Turkey (3-0) in Reykjavik and we believe that history is going to repeat itself. Taking everything into account, we predict that the hosts are going to pick up all three points from the match.
Highlighted Player (Birkir Bjarnason):
The 28-year-old Icelandic central midfielder Birkir Bjarnason bearing a striking nickname Thor in his homeland is a footballing nomad, having played for no less than seven clubs in less than ten years of his professional careers. After spells in Belgium and Italy, the Iceland midfielder moved to FC Basel in 2015 to amass 29 Swiss Super League appearances and add 10 goals in his club’s title-winning campaign. Following a successful season at club level, the versatile midfielder Birkir Bjarnason, who is equally apt to perform as a striker, made striking appearance during the Euro 2016 in France. His commanding appearances made him a key player for the minnows Iceland as they knocked England out to reach the quarter finals of the tournament. Despite heavy summer interest from several English sides, Bjarnason remained with the Swiss champions and is expected to play a key role in their Champions League campaign.
Highlighted Team (Turkey):
Present on the international stage since 1923, Turkey only started showing some promise during the 70’s, but they had to wait until the turn of the century to place themselves on the map. While they lost all three fixtures at their first ever European Championship finals in 1996, they fared much better four years later, reaching the last eight in Netherlands and Belgium. Milli Takim were able to build on that result as they went on to reach the podium at the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan, while also finishing third at the 2003 Confederations Cup and making it to the semi-finals at the Euro 2008. Rustu Recber, Hakan Sukur and Emre Belezoglu were important parts of the country’s most successful generation, but the one including Arda Turan, Selcuk Inan, Burak Yilmaz and Hakan Calhanoglu is threatening to surpass their achievements. As the Turkish Super Lig continues the get stronger, the national team follows, and we should expect some big result from Milli Takim in the near future.