UEFA Nations League: Turkey vs Sweden preview


Turkey and Sweden fight to avoid relegation to the third tier of the UEFA Nations League when the two sides meed at Yeni Eskisehir Stadium in Eskisehir on Saturday. The reverse fixture was a spectacular one, Turkey won it 3-2 after Sweden had held a 2-0 lead with 40 minutes left in the game. Galatasaray midfielder Emre Akbaba scored on 88 and 92 minutes to turn the game on its head after Hakan Calhanoglu had clawed one back for Turkey earlier in the second half. That was the third consecutive win for Turkey against Sweden, the Scandinavians have not won a match against Turkey since 2001.

Turkey are no longer in with a chance to win the group and get promoted to the top tier of the UEFA Nations League, they lost both at home and away against group leaders Russia and all they can hope now is to avoid relegation to the third tier. They only need a draw against Sweden, but getting all three points would boost their coefficient and maybe grant them a better place in the draw for the qualifying campaign for Euro 2020. Turkey have won just three of the nine matches they played this year, and those were mostly friendlies as they missed out on the World Cup.

Sweden had a miserable campaign so far in the UEFA Nations League, they only played two matches and they are at the bottom of the group table. However, they still have a theoretical chance of finishing first, but they would need to beat both Turkey on Saturday and leaders Russia next week. They did grab a goalless draw in Russia last month, a good result considering that Russia are very strong at home, but overall they have have not won any of the four matches they played after the World Cup. Their last match was a friendly against Slovakia, which ended 1-1.

Probable line-ups:

Turkey: Bolat - Celik, Aziz, Soyuncu, Kaldirim - Yokuslu, Topal - Under, Ozyakup, Calhanoglu - Tosun

Sweden: Olsen - Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson - Durmaz, Larsson, Svensson, Claesson - Berg, Thelin

My prediction: Turkey to win 2-1, Sweden don't seem strong enough to survive such a difficult away match.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Turkey win - 2.40
Draw - 3.30
Sweden win - 3.30

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