Thursday, December 2, 2021

Despite leading the table in Group G Netherlands must tremble for a World Cup ticket

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The battle for the World Cup tickets is entering the hot phase. It is particularly exciting in Group G with the Netherlands and Turkey with the German coach Stefan Kuntz. Who is running the race?

Now the big shaking begins in the World Cup qualification group G. Three teams are still fighting for the World Cup ticket: the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey. And especially for the Netherlands it means: Don’t miss the second World Cup in a row (after 2018).

Ex-Bayern coach Louis van Gaal’s team is still in first place in the table, two points ahead of Norway – but the remaining two-game program is tough. Because first the Netherlands have to play against Montenegro on Saturday (8.45 p.m. in the live ticker at t-online). And on Tuesday (8.45 p.m. in the t-online live ticker), the direct meeting with Norway will be the key to conclude in Rotterdam.

Is there a rude awakening for van Gaal? He had already failed in 2001 in his first of three terms as Holland coach in the World Cup qualification. Norway, however, has a problem: striker Erling Haaland is out injured. And before the cracker on Tuesday, Latvia must be beaten (Saturday, from 6 p.m.) here).

That leaves Turkey. The German coach Stefan Kuntz wants to lead his team to a spot landing in the World Cup qualifying with the necessary ease and a plus in team spirit. “Above all, I attach great importance to the subject of self-confidence and team building,” said the former successful coach of the German U21s. Turkey approaches the two final games in wait position with 15 points behind Norway (17) and the Netherlands (19).

In the race for second place, which entitles them to participate in the play-offs for the Qatar tickets, the Turks’ chances are real. Because the Norwegians are competing without their top star Haaland. The “Vikings” currently have a point advantage over Kuntz ‘team and the five hits better goal balance.

So it is for the Turks to deliver against football dwarf Gibraltar on Saturday and then to replenish them in Montenegro. “Against Gibraltar we have to win and score as many goals as possible,” said Kuntz. “Because every hit increases the pressure on our opponents. That has to be our way of thinking.”

Kuntz ‘had only taken over his tricky job in September, it would be “a small miracle” for him to make it to second place in the World Cup qualifiers.

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