The next international break takes place in March, and two teams that will be missing out on the World Cup will go head-to-head. Turkey hosts Ireland in Antalya on March 23rd, and these two teams have a lot to show and prove before the next European Championship qualifiers kick off in March 2019.
What To Know About Ireland
Ireland’s last match wasn’t pretty as they were thumped 5-1 at home by Denmark in November in a play-off that would have sent them to Russia this summer. Shane Duffy scored in the sixth minute, but it was all downhill from there as Denmark ran riot over the Irish and Martin O’Neill, who extended his contract in January, now has to figure out what to do going forward. Ireland won five and drew four of their 10 qualifiers, scoring 12 goals and allowing six. James McClean scored four of those goals, but it is obvious that Ireland needs someone to step up in attack. However, there doesn’t look to be any young players coming down the pipeline that will help there, so that should be O’Neill’s main focus in these friendlies.
What To Know About Turkey
Turkey also lost in their last match, a 3-2 friendly loss to Albania as Cengiz Under and Emre Akbala scored. However, their defense wasn’t great and that was their downfall in missing out on the World Cup. Turkey won four and drew three of their qualifiers, scoring 14 and allowing 13. Only one defender started more than four games (Mehmet Topal) and it is tough to build continuity along the backline that way. In terms of goals Turkey got five from Cenk Tosun, with three other players scoring two. Manager Mircea Lucescu also has to get something out of Arda Turan, who was loaned to Istanbul Basaksehir from Barcelona and left the international team after having problems with former manager Fatih Terim. Turan is Turkey’s captain and most creative player, and if he is back in a good frame of mind, it’ll do wonders for his country.
Turkey should be favored at home for this match on March 23rd, and these two have met 13 times with Ireland winning five matches and drawing six. Their last meeting came in a friendly in May 2014 with Turkey claiming a 2-1 win in Dublin. Again, both teams will have a lot to prove after missing out on the World Cup and both managers would like to go for a win, but they also probably want to see what they have going into the Euro qualifiers next year in terms of younger players. Also, these friendly matches will come at a point in the club season in which teams will have high stakes. They likely won’t want the international managers playing their best players in a match that basically doesn’t mean anything. Look for Turkey to get back to their winning ways, especially at home where they have lost their last two matches and their fans will be looking for the players to turn things around.
There are a number of interesting international games coming up. If you’re looking for odds on the international friendlies, check out Play Shangrila to get the odds for matches, props and betting lines to win it all!