Iceland trashes Turkey’s hopes of a good start to its Euro campaign
ÖZGÜR KORKMAZ REYKJAVIK
Turkish midfielder Arda Turan reacts after a missed opportunity against Iceland.Turkey’s hopes of making a good start to its Euro 2016 qualification campaign were destroyed at the hands of Iceland with a three-goal defeat at Reykjavik’s Laugardalsvöllur Stadium Sept.9.
One goal in the first half and two others in the second sent 10-men Turkey home packing and the home fans home happy.
Coach Fatih Terim, who was cautious before the game as he warned the players to be careful, sounded bitter after the loss.
“I was worried before the game that the team was not totally ready,” Terim told a post game press conference. “I congratulate Iceland, they played better than us and we deserved the loss. I hope that such a thing will not happen again.”
The breaking point of the game was a 59th minute red card for Ömer Toprak, according to the experienced coach.
“If we had not dropped down to 10-men, we might have brought the game to a draw,” he said. “But playing one man down is especially difficult against an opponent with such physical strength.”
Without giving any names, Terim said he was “very disappointed” in some of his players.
“Only players who can cope with this level of football will continue with us,” the coach said of the squad’s future. “The national team is where you should perform 100 percent.”
Iceland coach Lars Lagerback was very happy with the score and the individual performances of his players.
“We knew what to expect if Turkey used its recent tactics with three defenders,” he told reporters. The real surprise for me was how well my players performed, I congratulate each and every one of them.”
The game at Laugardalsvöllur started in a high tempo and Iceland had its first scoring chance in the 13th minute, when Jon Dadi Bödvarsson’s header on Ari Skulason’s clipped the top of the crossbar and went over.
The miss proved to be the indicator of an upcoming goal and five minutes later, the Icelandic striker headed the ball in to put the home side ahead.
The host side’s both wings worked well as many crosses found their targets in the penalty area. That resulted in a couple of missed goals, including Birkir Bjarnason’s low header in the 37th minute.
Iceland dominated the first half almost entirely, without having any position seriously threatening its goal, except a shot by Arda Turan outside the box in the 41st minute, tipped to corner by goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson.
The host side also started strong in the second half and Turkish defender Ömer Toprak made the mission more difficult for the visitors as he received a red card in the 59th minute.
The sending off forced coach Terim to change his game plan and he replaced forward Olcan Adın with Mustafa Pektemek and midfielder Selçuk İnan with defender Ozan Tufan. But the move did not do much good for Turkey and the home side made it 2-0 in the 75th minute with a nice curved shot from Gylfi Sigurdsson.
But even the two-goal lead did not slow down the Icelanders and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson added one more just one minute later, declaring the result of the game: 3-0.
Turkey will host Czech Republic, which beat group favorite the Netherlands on Sept. 9 2-1 with a goal in added time, in its next game next month, while Iceland travels to Latvia.