Watch Turkey Live At Euro 2008
Let us turn the clock back by four years. Turkey, the third best team at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, took on outsiders Latvia in a Euro 2004 playoff. The Latvians had been integrated into the European Union in May 2004, and nobody gave them a chance against the Turkish. But football is not always a game where the better team on paper wins. The Latvians won 1-0 at home in the first leg, thanks to a goal from Maris Verpakovskis. If the result shocked the Turkish, even worse was the fact that they would have to do without Emre, goalkeeper Rustu and Fatih Akyel for the return leg in Istanbul. Still everybody expected them to go through, and after 65 minutes of football, it did seem that Turkey would be making the trip to Portugal, leading 2-0 thanks to goals from Ilhan Mansiz and Hakan Sukur. However, the Latvians staged a fairytale comeback, with Jurijs Laizans scoring first, and Verpakovskis equalising in the 78th minute. As Anders Frisk blew the final whistle, the Turks were shocked, the Latvians nothing short of ecstatic. For many, that remains the greatest shock that Euro 2004 provided, if you take out Greece winning the title.
The Turkish side comes back to the European Championship after a gap of eight years, and we offer you the chance to watch them to try and make up for their 2004 debacle, for a price as low as £9.99. Buying this package also entitles you to watch games from all the major leagues for one year- you don't have to pay a penny extra. With players like Sanli Tuncay, Nihat Kahveci and Emre in their ranks, Turkey can go far in this tournament.
Turkey were in Group C for Euro 2008 qualifying. The group had strong opponents in the form of Greece and Norway, as well as weaker ones like Malta. Turkey eventually finished second in the group, seven points behind winners Greece. However, their qualification ride was anything but easy. Going into their last two games, they were two points behind Norway, with the Scandinavians and Bosnia- Herzegovinia being their remaining opponents. Erik Hagen gave Norway the lead in Oslo in a match that would effectively determine the second placed team in the group. Emre equalised in the 31st minute, and Nihat Kahveci scored the winner on the hour mark, giving Turkey a 2-1 win. Turkey won their last game 1-0 even as Norway thrashed Malta 4-1, enabling Fatih Terim's team to make it to Austria and Switzerland along with defending champions Greece.
Here is a list of Turkey's games in Group A.
7 June- Turkey vs Portugal in Geneva ( 20.45)
11 June- Turkey vs Switzerland in Basel ( 20.45)
15 June-Turkey vs Czech Republic in Geneva ( 20.45)
All games in CEST ( Central European Summer Time- UTC + 2)
Turkey made their European debut in 1996. Unfortunately, they had a disastrous tournament, losing all three of their group games. They were eliminated without scoring a goal, the only team to suffer this ignominy.
At Euro 2000, Turkey went a step ahead, qualifying for the quarterfinals before losing to Portugal. They started off their group campaign with a loss to Italy, and a goalless draw against Sweden. However a crucial 2-0 win over Belgium in their last group game was enough for them to qualify from the group stage.
As the first paragraph tells you, Turkey did not qualify for Euro 2004 after being knocked out by Latvia.
Turkey do have some great players. Many of their players ply their trade for top European clubs. Belozoglu Emre is at Newcastle, Sanli Tuncay at Middlesbrough, Nihat Kahveci at Villareal and Hamit Altintop plays for Bayern. That in itself speaks volumes about the capabilities of these players. Altintop is running against time to be fit, as he needs to recover from a broken metatarsal. In goal, Fenerbahce's Volkan Demirel is likely to get the nod ahead of the experienced Rustu. Their defence is not as strong as it could be, and Terim has sometimes been forced to use makeshift players. Fatih Terim has dropped a bombshell by not deciding to pick veteran Hakan Sukur for Euro 2008. Sukur, scorer of the fastest goal in FIFA World Cup history, is the most experienced player in the side, having been capped well over 100 times in a career spanning nearly two decades. There is no room for Mehmet Topuz either, although we could see Kazim Kazim play.
Turkey are not in the easiest group at Euro 2008. Portugal and the Czech Republic will pose stiff challenges for them, and even Switzerland are no pushovers. But if they could upset the form book at the 2002 World Cup, why couldn't they pull it off here?
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Tags: Turkey, European Championship, Emre, Euro 2008, Belozoglu Emre, Sanli Tuncay, Turkey live