Iceland ready to make history while Turkey hope to fend off the Netherlands

Mexico vs. Iceland (via Flikr Creative Commons).
Mexico vs. Iceland (via Flikr Creative Commons). /

Iceland are on the precipice of the biggest sporting night in their history as they begin to celebrate the qualification of their first major tournament ever.

Turkey meanwhile will hope that the Netherlands won’t make up the two point difference between the pair as they go into the penultimate game of qualification for Euro 2016 in France.

Iceland vs. Latvia

It has been a historic Euro 2016 qualifying campaign for Iceland who look set to quality for the first major tournament in their history. It will be even sweeter in light of them just missing out on the World Cup in Brazil when they lost a play-off.

The volcanic Island nation sit top of Group A on 19 points after eight games, with a superior goal difference separating them from 2nd placed Czech Republic.

Iceland have been terrific during this qualifying campaign, led by Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson who has netted five goals in eight games including the winners in both games against the Netherlands.

There is some quality throughout the squad but the success of Lars Lagerback’s men has been their work ethic and tenacity within their tactics.

Iceland are unbeaten in seven competitive home games (W5 D2) stretching back to a 4-2 loss to Slovenia on 7 June 2013.

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Latvia meanwhile sit in 5th in Group A on four points after eight games, with no chance of qualifying for Euro 2016. The visitors have managed four draws alongside four losses throughout their campaign.

The last meeting between the sides occurred in October of last year in which Iceland won 3-0, incidentally exactly a year before Saturday’s game will kick-off.

With draws against Turkey, Czech Republic away from home they wont fear going to Iceland but it is unlikely they can handle the carnival atmosphere at the ground.

Latvia are without a win in 11 competitive games (D5 L6) since a 2-1 win against Lithuania on 6 June 2013.

Latvia have nothing to lose going into Saturday’s tie, and although they may make it competitive, it is unconceivable that they can put a dent into the party atmosphere for Iceland on such a historic night.

The Czech Republic vs. Turkey

The Czech Republic are guaranteed an automatic place in Euro 2016 in France next summer, as they it 2nd in Group A, with only an inferior goal difference setting them apart from Iceland.

The Czechs have enjoyed a successful campaign, wherein they have won six and drawn one of the eight games they’ve played so far. In their last meeting against Turkey they won 2-1, playing in Istanbul last October.

Notably, The Czechs have not kept a single clean sheet in their eight Group A games, but are unbeaten at home in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying (W3 D1).

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Furthermore, while the Czechs have not kept a clean sheet yet, they have scored in every game so far, which a goal-laden game an inevitability.

Turkey on the other hand sit in 3rd place in Group A on 12 points, with a play-off place possible, should they fend off the wounded Netherlands, who have 10 points with six to play for.

Turkey began their campaign with consecutive losses but have recovered sufficiently, having remained unbeaten in their last six qualification games.

In fact, it was Turkey’s last game, 3-0 at home to the Netherlands, which truly shifted the dynamic of Group A, resulting in what promises to be a photo-finish for 3rd place over the next few days.

Historically, Turkey’s record in 17 games against Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic is W3 D3 L11.

The only competitive meeting between the nations in their current incarnations was at UEFA EURO 2008, in which Turkey were the winners to reach the quarter finals.