Cymru braces for a decisive clash against Turkey, their dreams of a direct route to the finals hanging in the balance. The fate of their qualification journey will be determined not just in Cardiff but also in Zagreb, as they seek to overcome the 1-1 draw against Armenia that relinquished control of their Group D destiny.
Rob Page’s squad, aware that only a victory against already-qualified Turkey will suffice, faces the challenge of simultaneously hoping for a stumble by Croatia at home against Armenia. The Cardiff City Stadium, hosting a sellout crowd, becomes the battleground for Cymru to secure their spot in next summer’s finals in Germany.
While the possibility of a playoff spot offers a safety net, discussions of fallback plans are deemed unwelcome in the Cymru camp. Manager Rob Page emphasises their focus on automatic qualification, stating, “We’re having no talk of play-offs. If we’re talking play-offs, we may as well call the game off on Tuesday. That’s our mentality and attitude.”
Despite setbacks earlier in the campaign, including back-to-back defeats against Armenia and Turkey, Cymru revived their hopes with a win in Latvia and a stellar performance against Croatia in Cardiff. However, the recent draw in Armenia has once again shifted the advantage back to Croatia.
Manager Rob Page, under scrutiny since the summer, expresses confidence in his team and asserts, “The campaign is not over. If you’d have seen training, you will see the players don’t believe it’s over. We’re fully focused on the job we’ve got and we don’t want any regrets when that final whistle goes.”
Cymru enters the match without regular captain Aaron Ramsey due to injury, with Ben Davies leading the side. The absence of Chris Mepham, suspended after collecting his third caution, opens the door for Luton Town’s Tom Lockyer to make a competitive appearance in a Cymru shirt.
While attention lingers on events in Croatia, Cymru faces the formidable task of overcoming a Turkey side that has already secured their place in Germany. Manager Vincenzo Montella, who took charge after their win against Cymru in June, expresses determination to finish at the top of the group.
Despite missing key players, including captain Hakan Calhanoglu, Turkey impressed in a recent friendly against Germany, indicating a change in their playing style under Montella. Page acknowledges the challenge, stating, “It will be a tough game, but we have a plan that will create problems for them, and it will make for an entertaining game.”
As the Cardiff clash unfolds, the Cymru camp remains optimistic, focused on seizing control of their destiny and securing the coveted direct qualification to Euro 2024. The match promises high stakes, with both teams vying for a spot at the prestigious tournament.
When is Cymru v Turkey
Football fans, brace yourselves! Tonight, at 7.45 pm GMT on Tuesday, 21 November, Cymru faces Turkey in a thrilling match at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Where to Watch
- UK Broadcast: Viaplay Sports 1
- Welsh Language: S4C
- Online Options: Viaplay website and app, Channel 4 free live stream (Welsh)
Cymru, under Manager Page, is tweaking their lineup after a recent draw with Armenia. Brennan Johnson might have to step up, and Tom Lockyer may replace the suspended Chris Mepham. Unfortunately, Captain Aaron Ramsey remains sidelined due to injury.
For Turkey, Salih Ozcan could return to the starting XI, while skipper Hakan Calhanoglu is out with illness, not part of the travelling squad.
Cymru XI: Ward, Lockyer, Rodon, Davies, Roberts, James, Ampadu, Williams, Johnson, Wilson, Moore.
Turkey XI: Altay, Celik, Bardakci, Kabak, Kadioglu, Akbaba, Ozcan, Yuksek, Akturkoglu, Yilmaz, Yildiz.
- Cymru Win: 13/10
- Draw: 13/5
- Turkey Win: 15/8