Our football match prediction:
Thanks to a 2-0 win over Kosovo Turkey put an end to their three-game winless run in Group I. The triumph gave the Turks a confidence boost and they will be looking to give fans yet another reason for celebration when they welcome Finland at their Antalya Arena. The Crescent Stars need to pick up all three points from Friday’s football match against Finland and we predict that the hosts will go all-out attack this time out. A man to watch in the home team will be Bayer Leverkusen ace Hakan Calhanoglu, who has netted six goals in the Bundesliga so far this season. Speaking of Markku Kanerva’s team, they have yet to record a win in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and they are unlikely to spoil Turkey’s party at Antalya Arena. It has to be noted that the Finns failed to find the net in previous two qualifying matches.
Highlighted Player (Olcay Sahan):
Despite beginning his professional career as the member of Germany’s Under-17 set-up, Olcay Sahan decided to switch allegiance and represent the country of his parents’ descent. Dusseldorf-born Turkish international is a winger who can also be deployed as an attacking midfielder. Usually deployed on the left side of the pitch, Sahan has been used as a playmaker by Fatih Terim at the international level. The 29-year-old is known for his quick pace, hard work and team spirit, which made him one of the fans’ favourite in Turkey. Following spells with Borussia Monchengladbach, Duisburg and Kaiserslautern, Olcay Sahan moved to Besiktas in 2012 when he made an immediate impact for the Black Eagles. He has so far made more than 130 Super Lig appearances, scored and assisted more than 30 goals respectively, at the same time establishing himself as first-team regular and one of the most important players for the club.
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.