The Netherlands begin their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign with a tricky trip to Turkey on Wednesday evening as Group G gets up and running.
Frank de Boer’s men are favourites to finish top of the standings, while Turkey are second seeds and are much fancied to join their opponents in Qatar next year.
De Boer’s first couple of months in the job did not exactly get off to a flyer, with the Oranje losing a friendly against Mexico and drawing their next three games.
However, it must be factored in that they earned draws against Italy and Spain in that run, before then beating Bosnia-Herzegovina and Poland to end 2020 on a high.
The Dutch are therefore unbeaten in five matches and have this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament to look forward to.
Finishing top of Group G in this next qualifying campaign will be the target for De Boer, but his side begin with what on paper is their toughest match of the whole campaign.
Turkey lost 2-0 to Hungary in their most recent outing, though that came on the back of a six-game unbeaten streak.
Senol Gunes’s charges, like the Netherlands, will compete in this summer’s Euros in a group that also contains Italy, Wales and Switzerland.
Using the momentum from their last campaign, Turkey will be looking to reach their first World Cup finals since 2002, when famously going on to finish third.
The last meeting between these nations was a European Championship qualifier in September 2015, which Turkey won 3-0 on home soil.
That includes a run of five draws, holding Germany and Croatia 3-3 across that period.
In fact, going further back, the Crescent-Stars have lost only three of their last 21 competitive and non-competitive matches, seeing them rise to 32nd in the FIFA rankings.