Turks must overcome Kazakhs to keep Euro 2016 hopes alive

Turkey will be striving to keep its slim Euro 2016 hopes alive when it takes on tiny cellar-dweller Kazakhstan in a Group A qualifying match at Almaty Stadium on Friday night.
In the other group fixtures Iceland entertains Czech Republic in a top-of-table clash, while minnow Latvia hosts the Netherlands.
The Turks go into Friday’s Game Six in fourth place in the six-team standings, five points behind the Netherlands, seven behind second-placed Norway and eight behind leader the Czech Republic.
The means Fatih Terim’s Turkey has all but missed out on first and second place as well as automatic qualification for the Euro 2016 finals in France. The only thing left for the Turks is to try and win all remaining five games, including Friday’s, leapfrog the Dutch into third and qualify for a playoff.
And Terim agreed. “The Kazakhstan match is of utmost importance,” he said. “This match is like a final and if we don’t win, we may as well forget about the remaining four. That three of the remaining four games will be played in Turkey gives us hope. We will be playing in front of our home fans,” he said.
h2Tall orderh2 But that is still a tall order because the Turks’ fate is no longer in their hands. Simply put, Turkey cannot overtake the Dutchmen as long as they do not drop points. And if that eventually happens, Turkey’s Euro 2016 dreams will evaporate into thin air.
But first things first. Turkey must first beat the Kazakhs in Almaty and then wait and see how things unfold. It is almost a foregone conclusion that Terim’s men will win. But equally important, they have to win big because the Turks have a minus two goal difference, having scored only six goals in five matches and conceded eight.
Turkey warmed up for Friday’s game with a resounding 4-0 victory over neighboring Bulgaria in Istanbul on Monday. Galatasaray’s Burak Yilmaz and Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Hakan andcalhanoilu each had a brace. Terim is likely to start with this striking duo because Turkey needs to bang many goals in to improve its goal difference.
Istanbul Baiakiehir’s Volkan Babacan has emerged as Turkey’s first-choice goalkeeper and will be manning the posts on Friday as former number one Volkan Demirel has fallen out with Terim.
It all started when Demirel walked out ahead of Turkey’s Euro 2016 qualifier at home against Kazakhstan on Nov. 16 of last year, after being taunted by his own fans while warming up at the Tandurk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, home of archrival Galatasaray. Babacan took over the goal after Demirel left the stadium and Turkey went on to win 3-1. Terim, ever since, has not invited Demirel to the national squad.
The Kazakhstan-Turkey match kicks off at 7 p.m. and will be refereed by Michael Oliver of England. His assistants will be Gary Beswick and Stuart Burt Oliver.

hr h2Live on Show TV h2 19:00 Kazakhstan vs. Turkey