Last night, three games in Group D were played in World Cup Qualifying that added more meaning and clarified the process just a bit more. We know who already won the group, but we have to wait till Tuesday to figure out who will finish in solid second.
Turkey defeated Estonia 2-0 on Baltic grounds last night to boost their points up to a total of 16 with a goal difference of +9. Romania sit in third with the same points as the Turks but have a goal difference of +5 after a 4-0 win in Andorra. Hungary are in fourth with 14 and a -1 goal difference after receiving an 8-1 mauling in Holland.
On Tuesday, Turkey will host Holland, Hungary will host Andorra and Romania will host Estonia. The Hungarians and Romanians are all but guaranteed to earn all three points while Turkey will have the toughest task of handing the Dutch their first loss in qualifying. Nothing is guaranteed but on paper, the first two games are so much easier to win than the other.
Hungary ripped Andorra by a a score of 5-0 away from home the first time they met and they just lost by seven on the road, so they will want to take out their vengeful anger on a team that is already 0-9 to completely wipe them out. Romania wiped Estonia 2-0 in Talinn the last time around, so hosting them shouldn’t be a problem. This will be an easy win for them if everything goes right as it should.
With all of that in mind, Turkey somehow has to defeat Holland in order to be almost completely certain of securing second place. Let’s remember that Romania is level with them on points but would have to score at least four more goals just to be level with Turkey’s current difference. This is something that has to be on their minds while hosting one of the very best nations in the world.
Romania 3 — Estonia 0
Hungary 4 — Andorra 0
Turkey 2 — Holland 1
The final prediction seems a bit unlikely, but the Turks will be playing for their World Cup lives while the Dutch are simply playing to complete their qualifying campaign. After missing out on the last two World Cups, Turkey have to win this to at least make the playoff stage for the first time since 2001.