Turkey and new coach head into summer with heads held high
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish national football team coach Abdullah Avcı (2L) congratulates after forward Mustafa Pektemek scores his first international goal against Ukraine. Turkey wraps up its five-match European tour of friendly games with four wins and shows some good signs heading to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, which will start in September. AFP photo
Turkey’s national football team has managed to make its summer a bit more pleasant with recent success on its European tour – even if the team won’t be able to compete for continental supremacy at Euro 2012.
On June 5, Turkey completed its European tour of friendly games with a 2-0 win over Ukraine, one of the co-hosts of the European Football Championship. The game resulted in a fourth win in five games during Turkey’s exhibition games – a highly satisfying record for a team that notoriously underperforms in friendly games. However, what’s more important than those wins should be the team’s good response to Abdullah Avcı’s rebuilding plans.
“We have a highly harmonious group of players that like to act together as a unit, both on and off the pitch,” Avcı told reporters after the Ukraine game. “Of course we are not a 100 percent successful team. We need to talk about it and work on it.”
A 3-1 win over Georgia on May 24 was a good start but the second game on May 26 was eyebrow-raising, with Turkey failing to hold on to its lead over Finland and losing 3-2. After two games, the results improved; Turkey won 2-0 over Bulgaria on May 29 before shocking Portugal 3-1 for its best result of the tour ahead of the Ukraine game, which sent another team to Euro 2012 in disappointment.
“It can be tough to concentrate in final games,” said Avcı, whose previous spell was at Spor Toto Super League mid-table side Istanbul BB. “But my players concentrated on the game really well today. They tried to keep possession from the start to finish, trying to do everything right. Then came the 2-0 win. It ended well for us.”
Turkey’s next game will be against Austria in August, a month before starting its road to the 2014 World Cup against the Netherlands in what is shaping up as the team’s most crucial match of the year. The Netherlands is Turkey’s strongest opponent in the 2014 World Cup qualifying group, which also features Hungary, Romania, Andorra and Estonia.
TFF chief Demirören says match-fixing case is now over
Turkish match-fixing scandal is over with the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) decisions, the TFF chief Yıldırım Demirören said.
“Turkish football is passing through a process and I think that process was ended with the Arbitration Committee decisions,” Demirören said yesterday, in reference to the committee rejecting appeals into the TFF’s Disciplinary Committee rulings.
According to the decision, no clubs were punished, but a total of 10 players and officials were given bans for their involvement in manipulating games.