September 6th 2010
After the impressive win at Kazakhstan, Guus Hiddink’s Turkey enter this match full of confidence, hoping to record another important victory, this time at their Sukru Saracoglu. Belgium played really well against Germany but that is little comfort after the narrow defeat, so they now need to take at least one point in order to remain in contention for the first two places in the group.
With so much success at international stage behind him, Guus Hiddink was always expected to make his mark on Turkey and the Dutchman has already led the national team to their biggest ever away victory in the European Championship qualifiers, having masterminded the 3:0 victory over Kazakhstan. Obviously, the opening win would mean nothing if the Turks fail to beat Belgium but one thing is for sure, that will not be an easy task. The team haven’t played all that well in Kazakhstan as they scored two goals after set-pieces and later managed to punish their opponents for their wastefulness in front of Onur Kivrak’s goal. Another problem is the fact that players like Nihat, Hakan Balta and Sabri Sarioglu are struggling for form at the moment, while Tuncay is not even playing for Stoke. In such a high-profile game, where every mistake can prove costly, this can severely damage Turkey’s chances of winning the game.
Belgium national team have been touted as one of the most talented sides in Europe but they have struggled a great deal to realize their potential. It, nevertheless, seems that new boss George Leekens have succeeded in finding the right balance between youth and experience, with his side set to pose a real threat for both Germany and Turkey in this group. Despite the promising performance, Belgium failed to get something from the Germany game few days ago but the good showing against one of the best sides in the World will definitely give them something to build on. George Leekens’ men are likely to adopt a cautious approach in Istanbul but they will pose a massive threat on counterattacks though some of world’s hottest prospects, Hazard, Dembele and Lukaku, so there is a good chance the visitors can pull off a surprise here.
The online bookies see Turkey as hot favourites in this clash but there is no doubt Guus Hiddink’s men face a tough task against a very talented Belgium side. While the hosts are certainly a more experienced side, Belgium are superior in terms of talent and they are in better form, so they should be able to take one point from Sukru Saracoglu.
Verdict: Draw (X)
Best Odds: 11/4
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