New Zealand may currently have a hold on second but they enter the final day of Group D competition facing runaway group leaders Turkey, with Burkina Faso and Costa Rica breathing down their neck. Having already claimed top spot in the group, Turkey start the match in a luxurious position and have the opportunity to rotate a line-up which played just 48 hours earlier in the postponed fixture against Costa Rica.
The match pits two teams with very different agendas. Oceania champions New Zealand are desperate for points, knowing that a win may be enough to qualify, but aiming for a win which would guarantee a historic debut progression to the knockout phase of a FIFA men's tournament. The Kiwis have performed admirably at Nigeria 2009 displaying good organisation, tenacious defending and potential at set-pieces. New Zealand face a Turkey side in imperious form after their comprehensive 4-1 win over Costa Rica, and coach Abdullah Ercan has indicated he is likely to change his starting line-up for the final group match. Certainly the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ veteran will be without the services of a trio of influential players, all of whom are suspended for the match, namely, Furkan Seker, Orhan Gulle and Onur Karakabak.
1 - Despite a renowned football pedigree Turkey have appeared in only one FIFA U-17 World Cup. On that occasion the Turks stunned onlookers with a typically dramatic charge to the semi-finals. The class of 2009 have impressed in being the first team to win their group but can they repeat the heroics of four years ago?
"We have learnt a lessons in the last two matches, in terms of the way we need to play. We have to win the match. We have the strongest team to play against in Turkey. They are mostly all professional players, while we have three but that is the way it is. Do we expect to win? Of course we do, we have to back ourselves. We will give it our best shot." Steve Cain, New Zealand coach
"We are planning to give a chance to players who haven't played yet. We want to rest some players who have played two matches but our players will play a very good game against New Zealand." Abdullah Ercan, Turkey coach