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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Turkey - Spain

Wednesday, 1 April, Kick-off: 22:00 CET
Ali Sami Yen Stadium, Istanbul


The Big Three-Oh

And that's an even 30.

The unbeaten record that began in September 2006 remains intact. Spain have now gone 30 games without defeat. That, combined with ten consecutive wins, forms an excellent statistic for fans of La Furia Roja.

However, it's not all been plain sailing. Sure, there have been the highs of that Euro 2008 win, but Saturday's match in Madrid was somewhat less impressive.

Yes, Spain left the Santiago Bernabeu with a 1-0 win, but it came after a tense encounter.

A massive effort from Turkey saw the Roja restricted in their attacking play as they were closed down very quickly at all times.

This, combined with a perceived lack of width, resulted in much frustration for Vicente Del Bosque's side.

Turkey In Flight

It also gave Fatih Terim's men cause for optimism.

They may have conceded and ultimately lost the day in Madrid, but it was a close-run thing.

Perhaps in Istanbul there can be a change, particularly as Turkey's makeshift defence gave an excellent account of itself in Spain.

As such, even a weakened side won't cause problems, at least if everyone plays to form.

FORM GUIDE

Turkey

31 Mar 09 Spain (A) LOST 1-0 (WCQ)
11 Feb 09 Ivory Coast (H) DREW 1-1 (Friendly)
19 Nov 08 Austria (A) WON 4-2 (Friendly)
15 Oct 08 Estonia (A) DREW 0-0 (WCQ)
11 Oct 08 Bosnia (H) WON 2-1 (WCQ)
10 Sep 08 Belgium (H) DREW 1-1 (WCQ)

Spain

31 Mar 09 Turkey (H) WON 1-0 (WCQ)
11 Feb 09 England (H) WON 2-0 (Friendly)
19 Nov 08 Chile (H) WON 3-0 (Friendly)
15 Oct 08 Belgium (A) WON 2-1 (WCQ)
11 Oct 08 Estonia (A) WON 3-0 (WCQ)
10 Sep 08 Armenia (H) WON 4-0 (WCQ)

TEAM NEWS

Turkey

Halil Altintop of Schalke and Stuttgart's Yildiray Basturk remain out, and so too is Selcuk Sahin of Fenerbahce. Gokhan Zan of Besiktas and fellow centre-back Servet Cetin are also sidelined.

Probable Starting XI:
Demirel; Sarioglu, Kas, Emre Asik, Balta; Turan, Mehmet Aurelio, Akman, Tuncay Sanli; Senturk, Nihat.

Spain


Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is still without Andres Iniesta and Francesc Fabregas, but there are no new injuries. What we will see are a few changes, at least if the press are to be believed. David Silva and Albert Riera may start on the flanks and as such it'll be one up front.

Probable Starting XI:
Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Marchena, Albiol, Capdevila; Marcos Senna; Silva, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Riera; Villa/Torres.

KEY PLAYERS

Turkey - Nihat Kahveci:
The Villarreal striker is a true goal threat, even though he is advancing in terms of age. In front of the home crowd he will be eager to impress.

Spain - David Silva: Likely to be deployed in a wing role, the Valencia man offers pace and dynamism - something that was lacking in the first leg.

PREDICTION

With more pace on the wings, Spain should have just about enough to pick up win eleven.

Turkey 0-1 Spain


Ewan Macdonald, Goal.com