Fatih Terim hopes a cauldron of noise at the Torku Arena in Sunday’s crunch European Championship qualifier will inspire his Turkey players to ensure Danny Blind’s start to his reign as Netherlands coach goes from bad to worse.
A late strike from Latvia substitute Valerijs Sabala dealt a hammer blow to Turkey’s hopes of securing automatic qualification from Group A, as they were held to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Netherlands’ 1-0 home defeat to Group A leaders Iceland meant a victory for Turkey would have put them in third place with three games remaining and in pole position to secure at least a play-off berth.
Iceland only need a point from their final three games to secure their place in the tournament in France next year, while Czech Republic can secure second spot if they beat Latvia and Netherlands fail to pick up all three points in Turkey.
Turkey coach Terim cut a frustrated figure after dropping two points and knows there is no margin for error in Konya when his side face a Netherlands side still smarting from a third defeat in what has been a surprisingly poor qualifying campaign after finishing third in the World Cup last year.
“At the end of the game, we could have scored a beautiful goal and that would have been enough to get us three points. Sener (Ozbayrakli) and Umut (Bulut) had chances to score a second, but we couldn’t prevent the draw.” said Terim.
“We may have set records for chances created or shots on goal, but that is no consolation. God gives us chances but we pass them up; what God gives to us on a plate, we push away with the backs of our hands.
“I hope on Sunday we’ll get a good victory. If we [had] won [on Thursday], we would have had more options, but the atmosphere for the Netherlands game will be something else. It’s our last chance. If we win, we’ll have the advantage in the race for third place.
“If we lose, it is over and we’ll start to prepare for the World Cup. If we draw, we’ll have hope for the last two games.”
Blind is already facing up to the prospect of a play-off being his side’s once chance of qualifying and is under no illusions over what is at stake in Turkey.
“The reality is now we have to go for the third place. That’s the option we have left,” said Blind.
“This was certainly not the scenario that I had in mind for my first game as coach. The team showed a lot of confidence but I knew it could be a difficult game.
“We now face climbing a mountain. I have to try and stimulate the team and we need to get some points.”
Netherlands’ chances of securing a precious victory were dealt a blow when captain Arjen Robben suffered a groin injury against Iceland and the Bayern Munich winger has been replaced in the squad by Jeremain Lens.
New Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk replaces the suspended Bruno Martins Indi, who was sent off during Thursday’s defeat in Amsterdam.