Netherlands look to take a step closer to qualifying for Euro 2016 when they host Turkey at the Amsterdam Arena on Saturday.
The qualifying campaign has been far from smooth so far for Guus Hiddink’s side, with Netherlands currently sitting third in the group, six points behind leaders Czech Republic, and three behind Iceland. A win against 4th placed Turkey is a must if Netherlands are to get their target of finishing top of the group.
Hiddink’s preparations have been hampered by the injuries to captain Robin van Persie, and star player Arjen Robben, which has forced the coach to rethink his starting eleven. Four-four-two has been tried during training with Bas Dost partnering Klaas jan Huntelaar, but Hiddink is set to stick to a 4-3-3 with the latter being flanked by PSV’s Luciano Narsingh and Ibrahim Afellay. PSV winger and Eredivisie top scorer Memphis Depay is set to start on the bench
For a year between 2010-11 Hiddink was coach of Turkey, and in his press conference he looked back, “In my time as coach of Turkey, I have worked with half of the current selection. We just missed the European Championships. They are good players, but sometimes it was chaotic. Sometimes there are quite a lot of emotions.”
Netherlands have never lost a Euro qualifier on home soil in 51 attempts, and although Van Persie and Robben are missing, a number of stars including Huntelaar will feel its their time to shine. Wesley Sneijder will captain the Oranje.
Expected Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Van der Wiel, Blind, Martins Indi, De Vrij, De Jong, Clasie, Sneijder, Afellay, Narsingh, Huntelaar
Like Netherlands, Turkey have also had a poor start to their qualifying campaign, with only one win from their opening four games (against Kazahkstan) leaving them fourth. Coach Fatih Terim has been forced to travel to Netherlands without Atletico Madrid star Arda Turan who is suspended, but Feyenoord forward Colin Kazim Richards is set to start for his country for the first time since 2011.
Terim believes his side are going to the Netherlands to win, “We’re talking about the number three in the World Cup. I have said about their qualities, but we are not afraid. We have nothing to lose, because we have already lost too much … That is why we must go to win. ”
Netherlands and Turkey have met ten times, with the Dutch coming out on top five times, three draws and Turkey winning twice. The last meeting in Netherlands was during the 2014 World Cup qualifying with the Oranje triumphing 2-0 thanks to goals from Robin van Persie and Luciano Narsingh.