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TURKEY > Rüştü bids farewell to national team in loss

SALZBURG

Rüştü Reçber, who is Turkey’s most capped player and has participated in all the major tournaments Turkey has played in since Euro 1996, ends his international career in a 3-2 friendly loss to Finland that ended with a pitch invasion by Turkish fans

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Goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber played for a record 120th and last time for the Turkish national team in an incident-filled 3-2 loss to Finland on May 26.

Perparim Hetemaj of Seria A club Chievo scored the winner for Finland at the Salzburg Red Bull Arena on May 26 in the dying minutes of the game. The referee stopped the game right after the goal when Turkish fans invaded the pitch.

Turkish Football Federation (TFF) officials said world football’s governing body FIFA would have the final say on the result of the game and that Turkey could face punishment for the pitch invasion.

The 39-year-old Rüştü, who is Turkey’s most capped player and has participated in all the major tournaments Turkey has played in since Euro 1996, was carried on the shoulders of his teammates when he was substituted in the 40th minute.

The experienced goalkeeper, who has won Turkish league titles with Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, said it was a “nice end.”

“I was touched by the gesture, I thank coach Abdullah Avcı and everybody else,” Rüştü said after the game. “We have had great times at the national team, but now it is time to say goodbye.”

Rüştü added that the result of the game was not important since the national team was being rebuilt under Avcı’s lead. “Everything will be better, I wish the best of luck to the coach and all the players.”

The keeper played his first game for the national team against Iceland on Nov. 12, 1994, as a substitute. He was a starter against Switzerland a month later and remained the first-choice goalkeeper for more than 15 years until Fenerbahçe’s Volkan Demirel took over the job.

Burak double not enough
In Salzburg, Finland’s Roman Eremenko put his side ahead in the 19th minute, followed by an equalizer by Trabzonspor’s Burak Yılmaz just two minutes later. The top scorer of Spor Toto Super League added one more in the 55th minute, but Teemu Pukki leveled the game in the 73rd before Hetemaj’s winner in the last minute.

Turkey coach Avcı said Turkey conceded a goal in a “no position.”

“As long as we play the way we did tonight, we will not lose such games,” Avcı told a press conference after the game. “We might lose one, but we will win most.”

The young coach, who is expected to lead a successful 2014 World Cup qualification campaign with a squad in the making, noted that 20 different players were on the pitch for Turkey in the last two friendly games.

“If we look at the two games, we have done good things like not allowing many positions and playing the right way in offense,” said Avcı. “The game was enjoyable, and it is not easy to concentrate in a friendly game especially if you concede a goal at a critical time.”

Avcı was sad that FIFA would have a say on the result. “It should have never happened,” he said. “I think that the supporters should also contain their feelings.”

Derdiyok scores 3 against Germany

BASEL, Switzerland -Reuters

Switzerland stunned Euro 2012 contender Germany 5-3 in an entertaining friendly on Saturday with the home side’s Turkish-origin player Eren Derdiyok grabbing a hat-trick.

Germany coach Joachim Löw did not use any Bayern Munich players against Switzerland, handing opportunities to some of the less heralded members of the squad.

However, he was given food for thought as Germany suffered their worst defeat at the hands of the Swiss since 1908.

“We made far too many mistakes,” Löw, who will announce his final squad next week, said. “I did not expect this result though I knew it could be dangerous because of the many training sessions we have had until now. I knew that we could be lacking this freshness.”

Derdiyok slotted Switzerland ahead after 21 minutes and struck again two minutes later. Defender Mats Hummels pulled a goal back just before the break but Derdiyok completed his hat-trick soon after the interval before Andre Schuerrle made it 3-2. In a frantic spell, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Admir Mehmedi scored for Switzerland either side of Germany’s third goal of the night from Marco Reus.

May/28/2012

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