Two teams wounded by World Cup playoff semi-final defeats will lock horns in an international friendly on Tuesday evening, as Turkey welcome Italy to Konya.
Turkey suffered a 3-1 defeat to Portugal in last week’s last-four playoff affair, while Italy incredibly lost 1-0 at home to North Macedonia, so the European champions will also not be at the 2022 World Cup.
Turkey had the chance to level the scores at 2-2 with Portugal in the closing stages of last week’s semi-final playoff fixture, but Burak Yilmaz missed from the penalty spot, and the home side went on to score a third in order to set up a final with North Macedonia.
The Crescent-Stars have competed in three of the last four European Championships, reaching the semi-finals in 2008, but they have only ever featured in the finals of two World Cups.
Indeed, their last outing at the World Cup came back in 2002, when they finished third, and the national team will have to wait until at least 2026 to have the chance to compete in the competition once again.
Stefan Kuntz’s side cannot afford to dwell on the disappointment, though, and will be determined to secure a positive result against Italy ahead of the start of their UEFA Nations League campaign on June 4.
Turkey have drawn their last two friendlies with Italy 1-1, but they suffered a 3-0 defeat to the reigning European champions when the pair locked horns in the group stage of Euro 2020.
Italy were stunned by North Macedonia on Thursday evening, with Aleksandar Trajkovski’s stoppage-time effort meaning that Roberto Mancini’s side will not be present at the 2022 World Cup.
The Blues have won the World Cup on four occasions, but they have not made an impression in the competition since last lifting the trophy in 2006, being eliminated in the group stage in 2010 and 2014, before failing to qualify in 2018 and now 2022.
Italy beat England on penalties to win Euro 2020, so their absence from this year’s World Cup is even more of a surprise, and it will take time for the national team to recover from the disappointment.
Mancini’s side will also begin their UEFA Nations League campaign at the start of June, taking on Germany in their opener, while they will face Copa America holders Argentina in the 2002 Finalissima on June 1.
Italy will believe that they should have been taking on Portugal on Tuesday for a spot at the World Cup, but it is instead a friendly against Turkey, and it will be interesting to see what kind of response there is from the wounded European champions.
Turkey International Friendlies form:
Turkey form (all competitions):
Italy International Friendlies form:
Italy form (all competitions):
We say: Turkey 1-1 Italy
Both teams will be wounded due to what happened last week, and it is difficult to predict exactly what will occur in this match. Italy have released six players from their camp, but the Blues still have plenty of quality in their squad, and we are expecting the two sides to play out a low-scoring draw on Tuesday night.