Friday, November 16, 2007

Match Day: Turkiye vs. Norway

Match Day: Turkiye vs. Norway
By Nathan L. Redd

With EURO 2008 qualifying seemingly slipping out of their grasps, Turkiye's Milli Takim face a must-win situation on Saturday in Group C competition. After a hot start in EURO 2008 qualifying, Turkiye is slumping at exactly the wrong time.

After ten games, Turkiye sits in third place in Group C, but a win in Oslo on Saturday would move them into second place, one point ahead of Norway. Since August, Turkiye has won only one game, with disappointing results against Greece, Moldova, Malta, and Romania. Earlier this spring, they defeated their rivals Greece 4-1 and appeared to be a sure thing to qualify for EURO 2008.

Turkiye will be without Yildiray Basturk for Saturday's match and next week's match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Basturk suffered a thigh strain earlier this week and will be replaced by Denizlispor's Yusuf Simsek. Fenerbahce's Deniz Baris missed training earlier this week with a hip injury, and Serkan Akin is still less than 100% after battling the flu. On the other side of the pitch, Norway will be without midfielder Christian Grindheim who is out with a knee injury.

Turkiye is hoping to make up for their 2-2 draw at home in March. Turkiye scored a late goal in that match to pick up one point. Despite their recent struggles, Turkiye Manager Fatih Terim believes in his players. "We have played a lot of matches like this and come through. I trust and believe in my players" he told reporters earlier this week.

Turkiye and Norway will kick off Saturday from Oslo at 19:00 local time (20:00 in Turkiye; 1 PM EST in the U.S.). The match can be seen in North America live on Setanta Sports.

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