Out of contention, Turkey's World Cup journey to end in Finland

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
Published

Turkey, whose dreams of participating in the 2018 World Cup were crushed after they suffered a 3-0 defeat against Iceland on Friday, will be hosted by Finland for their last game for Group I today. The teams meet at Veritas Stadium in Turku at 21:45 local time. Neither Turkey nor Finland have any chance to qualify, and the match will be a formality. In other matches in Group I, leader Iceland will host Kosovo in their final game, while Croatia will play away against Ukraine in the most critical match of the group. With one game to play, the win against Turkey put Iceland on top of the group with 19 points, two ahead of Croatia, who drew 1-1 with Finland. Ukraine also rose to 17 points after beating Kosovo, while Turkey were left with 14 points and out of contention.

Elsewhere, Netherlands need to beat Sweden by six goals to keep their World Cup 2018 hopes alive - nothing short of a miracle in which winger Arjen Robben doesn't believe while, coach Dick Advocaat does. The former heavyweights host Sweden in their last qualifier on Tuesday in Amsterdam and will need to score at least seven goals and win with a six-goal margin to have a chance to reach the play-offs. Sweden have nothing to lose Tuesday as they could even leapfrog France and qualify directly for the World Cup. And even if they lose, a six-goal margin is highly unlikely, although the Dutch once trounced them 5-1 in a 1974 friendly. Greece leaped up to second in their World Cup qualifying group after a crucial 2-1 away win over Cyprus on Saturday, almost certainly eliminating Bosnia in the process.

Greece have 16 points from nine games in Group H, nine behind group winners Belgium and two ahead of Bosnia who lost 4-3 at home to the Belgians earlier on Saturday. The Greeks' final game appears to be a formality at home to Gibraltar who have lost all nine games.

The South American World Cup qualifiers have not turned out as expected, and ahead of the last round Tuesday, Lionel Messi's Argentina, Alexis Sanchez's Chile and James Rodriguez's Colombia are all in serious danger of not playing in Russia 2018. And Nigeria has become the first country to qualify for World Cup 2018.

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