Malli‘s World Cup dream dashed
Turkey’s defeat to Iceland ends their World Cup hopes / Good results for Dimata and Bazoer.
Turkey have twice qualified for World Cup finals in their history – in 1954 and 2002. Although the side including VfL playmaker Yunus Malli got off to a stuttering start, a recent shock win over Croatia put them back in the race. On Friday evening though, the “final” in the hunt for second place – or maybe even more – in Group I ended disastrously in a 0-3 (0-2) home defeat to Iceland. With still one game to go in the group stage, coach Mircea Lucescu’s men can no longer book a place at the World Cup in Russia in 2018. Malli, who played for Germany until U21 level, was introduced as a 77th minute substitute, but could do nothing to alter his side’s fate. The final group game in Finland on Monday (20:45 CET) is now of no real significance.
Holland up and running
Two further Green-Whites enjoyed a far more enjoyable evening in the race to claim an Under 21 European Qualfying place. Nany Landry Dimata and the Belgian national team played out a 1-1 (1-0) draw with Sweden and remain top of their group, remaining unbeaten in their three qualifying games. The VfL striker was in action until the 85th minute. There was also a starting eleven place in the Dutch U21 selection for midfield-motor Riechedly Bazoer, who played until the 72nd minute in Holland’s comfortable 3-0 (3-0) win over Latvia. The first three points on the board for the Netherlands puts them back in the running for a place at the EURO 2019 finals in Italy and San Marino. Jakub Blaszczykowski, Dominik Franke and Phillip Menzel were all in action on Thursday.