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Turkey VS Netherlands, hold the elite nations to a draw
Match Time：3/25/2021 01:00 Thursday (GMT+8)
FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) -- Turkey VS Netherlands
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The Netherlands begin their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign with a tricky trip to Turkey on Wednesday evening as Group G gets up and running.
Frank de Boer's men are favourites to finish top of the standings, while Turkey are second seeds and are much fancied to join their opponents in Qatar next year.
De Boer's first couple of months in the job did not exactly get off to a flyer, with the Oranje losing a friendly against Mexico and drawing their next three games.
However, it must be factored in that they earned draws against Italy and Spain in that run, before then beating Bosnia-Herzegovina and Poland to end 2020 on a high.
The Dutch are therefore unbeaten in five matches and have this summer's rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament to look forward to.
Finishing top of Group G in this next qualifying campaign will be the target for De Boer, but his side begin with what on paper is their toughest match of the whole campaign.
Turkey lost 2-0 to Hungary in their most recent outing, though that came on the back of a six-game unbeaten streak.
That includes a run of five draws, holding Germany and Croatia 3-3 across that period.
In fact, going further back, the Crescent-Stars have lost only three of their last 21 competitive and non-competitive matches, seeing them rise to 32nd in the FIFA rankings.
Senol Gunes's charges, like the Netherlands, will compete in this summer's Euros in a group that also contains Italy, Wales and Switzerland.
Using the momentum from their last campaign, Turkey will be looking to reach their first World Cup finals since 2002, when famously going on to finish third.
The last meeting between these nations was a European Championship qualifier in September 2015, which Turkey won 3-0 on home soil.
Turkey form (all competitions):DDDDWL
Netherlands form (all competitions):LDDDWW
The Netherlands were expected to be without one of their key men, Lyon forward Memphis Depay, due to restrictions imposed by the French government on travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.
That would have seen Ryan Babel, who is now plying his trade for Galatasaray in Turkey, come into the side, with Steven Berghuis favourite to get the nod on the opposite flank.
However, it has since been confirmed that Depay has been given the all clear to link up with his nation side due to the French government making an exception to the mandatory quarantine regulation.
Tim Krul was selected in goal during the last international break, but Jasper Cillessen has since returned from injury and is likely to start in goal on Wednesday.
As for Turkey, Leicester City midfielder Cengiz Under is unavailable for his side's upcoming fixtures due to injury, so Yusuf Yazici should get the nod out on the right.
The hosts boast plenty of attacking firepower, with Hakan Calhanoglu expected to play just off Cenk Tosun, who has two goals in two appearances for Besiktas.
Galatasaray midfielder Taylan Antalyali and Goztepe winger Halil Akbunar are both in contention to earn their first senior international caps over the next week or so.
Turkey possible starting lineup:
Gunok; Celik, Soyuncu, Demiral, Erkin; Yazici, Turfan, Yokuslu, Calhanoglu, Karaman; Tosun
Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Cillessen; Dumfries, De Ligt, Blind, Wijndal; De Jong, Klaassen; Berghuis, Wijnaldum, Depay; De Jong
Turkey 1-1 Netherlands
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