Time is running out in the 2018 UEFA World Cup qualifying groups and Group I looks very tight at the top of the table. Croatia currently lead the group on 16 points and must travel to Turkey for this next match, who are in fourth place on 11 points.
World Cup Qualifiers – Tuesday 5th September – 19:45 UK Time
Best Odd of: 5/2 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 11/2 at Betfred
Best Odd of: 23/20 at Betway
Sandwiched in-between these teams are second place Ukraine on 14 points and third place Iceland on 13 points. With Iceland meeting Ukraine in Reykjavik on the same night, one or both nations could drop points and give the opportunity for the winner of this match to make significant strides at the top of the table.
Turkey were left very angry following their 2-0 defeat at Ukraine on Saturday. They felt both goals in their 2-0 defeat should have been ruled out and replays showed they were correct. One goal was scored by a player in an offside position and other saw the ball go out of play before being put in the back of the net. Despite this disappointment, Turkey cannot afford to allow their anger to spill over into this match and need to focus fully on the game if they are to win.
Turkey have picked up 7 points from a possible 9 at home in Group I, with a 2-2 draw against Ukraine followed by wins over Kosovo and Finland. They have lost 2 of their last 10 home World Cup qualifying matches and are unbeaten in their previous 13 home games.
Although they came through to win their match with Kosovo 1-0, Croatia were also left feeling angry despite picking up maximum points. Their match on Saturday was postponed due to the weather and they were forced to continue the game on Sunday, despite not knowing this was going to be the case. They have had very little time to recover to time for this match.
Croatia have lost just 1 match in this group which came at Iceland and they were also held 1-1 by Turkey at home in the opening round of matches. Croatia have been inconsistent of late and recently lost a friendly 3-0 in Estonia, which means they have failed to win 10 of their last 17 away matches.
Turkey can welcome back Burak Yılmaz for this match, who was suspended for the defeat in Ukraine. The 32-year-old striker is their top goal scorer with 23 goals in 50 games and may replace Cenk Tosun, who played against Ukraine.
Croatia will be tempted to rotate their team given the short turnaround but cannot afford to lose this game. Therefore, Ante Cacic may be forced to field Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic from the start for the second time in three days.
Top Betting Tips
Turkey are a team who thrive on playing at home and have picked up most of their points in-front of their own fans. They are not easy to beat and with Croatia coming off the back of their delayed game on Sunday, Turkey will fancy their chances of taking something from the match.
You can get 7/10 with Ladbrokes for a Turkey Win/Draw double chance. Seven of Turkey’s last ten home matches have seen under 2.5 goals, as have each of the last 3 meetings between the teams. Under 2.5 goals is 8/13 with Ladbrokes.
Despite being Croatia’s top scorer in the group with 4 goals to his name, Mario Mandzukic has failed to find the back of the net in his last four World Cup qualifying games. The Juventus forward is due a goal and can be backed at 9/5 with William Hill to score at any time.