The 20-year-old striker, currently on loan at FC Twente, was Turkey’s top scorer heading into last night’s game in Samsum and he underlined that with a clinical second-half treble. His first came from close range after 64 minutes to make it 1-1 after Kelvin Arase's opener. With nine minutes to play he ran in behind and finished across visiting keeper Fabian Ehmann to put Turkey ahead. Austria looked to have rescued a point through Hannes Wolf in the last minute but Halil had other ideas; three minutes into stoppage time he picked the ball up 30 yards from goal, rode two challenges, and then calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner to complete his remarkable night’s work.
Halil now has six goals in eight qualifying games this cycle, and seven in ten in total for Turkey’s Under-21s. The three points moved Turkey up to fourth in Group C ahead of Tuesday’s finale against Kosovo. Should Halil and his teammates avoid defeat in Samsum they will secure a fourth-place finish.
Group C is headed by Josh Dasilva’s England and they picked up a 3-1 win last night against Andorra. Going into the game at Molineux, the principality nation were the only team to take points off the Young Lions this campaign and it looked like they might do so again as the sides went in level at the break; Christian Garcia cancelling out Curtis Jones’ effort on the stroke of half-time. However, Ben Wilmot headed home from a corner just after the restart before Callum Hudson-Odoi made the game safe from the penalty spot midway through the half.
Josh played the full 90 minutes, earning his fourth Young Lions cap in the process. Aidy Boothroyd’s side end their campaign at Molineux on Tuesday against Albania, looking to make it 28 points from a possible 30 in Group C.
Elsewhere in Under-21 qualifying, Joe Adams was an unused substitute as Wales ensured they wouldn’t finish bottom of Group I with a 3-0 win over Molineux at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. The goals all came in the final half-hour as Wales picked up their second win in four games to move up to third. Their final game comes away to Group leaders Germany in Braunschweig on Tuesday.
There's no international action today for our players but a crucial afternoon awaits on Sunday.
Henrik Dalsgaaard and Mathias Jensen go looking for victory over Iceland with Denmark in the Nations League while Marcus Forss could make his competitive international debut for Finland against Bulgaria, after netting against France on debut. Both sides need victory in their hunt for top spot.
Patrik Gunnarsson and Iceland Under-21s have their do-or-die qualifier against Ireland in Tallaght. Anything less than a victory will likely see Iceland miss out on next year's European Championship finals in Hungary and Slovenia.