Our football match prediction:
Buoyed by a hard-fought win over Croatia, Turkey take on Iceland at Yeni Eskisehir Stadyumu in a match that could well decide which team will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals. The Turks aim to keep their 100% record at home intact, but Friday’s football game against Iceland will be anything but a walk in the park for Mircea Lucescu’s men. Anyhow, you should know that Turkey managed to keep three clean sheets in previous four home games in the process. Iceland recorded a very important 2-0 win over Ukraine in their last qualifying game, but they need to win their last two group games against Turkey and Kosovo as well if they are to (at least) make it to the play-offs. Both teams are likely to go for a win in Friday’s showdown in Eskisehir and we would not be surprised if they play out a high-scoring draw in the Group I derby.
Highlighted Player (Sahin):
Born in Germany to Turkish parents, Nuri Sahin is a Turkish international midfielder, who hasn’t exactly managed to realise his full potential. The left-footed footballer remains one of the most impressive players to have graduated from the Borussia Dortmund youth academy, and he went on to become a first team regular at Westfalenstadion at the age of 17. Following a thoroughly impressive loan stint with Feyenoord, Sahin returned to Dortmund, where he enjoyed two more very successful years before signing for Real Madrid. However, it was at that time that his career started taking the wrong turn as he was never able to rediscover his form, and he eventually returned to Borussia following a somewhat disappointing stint at Liverpool. Sahin is no longer considered a first team regular for either club or country, but he has amassed around 50 appearances for the Turkey national team, and he still has time to get his career back on track.
Highlighted Team (Iceland):
Iceland had little to no success during the first 60 years of entering the FIFA competitions, failing to qualify to a single major tournament in that period, but the team then went on to make tremendous progress at the start of the 21st century. The Nordic side narrowly missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup, losing in the play-off to Croatia, but they then enjoyed a thoroughly impressive qualifying campaign to reach the Euro 2016 finals, taking 20 points from 10 matches to leave Turkey and Netherlands trailing in their wake. As a result, the generation featuring players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aron Gunnarsson, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Emil Hallfredsson will go down as one of the most successful in the national team history and it could be quite some time before another team repeat their success. Even if he was only used as a bit-part player during the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Eidur Gudjohnsen has got to be mentioned as the first Icelandic footballer to have played for top European sides.