Turkey in joy over stunning win against France
Turkish football fans were all smiles on June 9, still mesmerized by one of the biggest victories in the country’s football history.
After right back Benjamin Pavard gave away a free kick on the left in the 30th minute, attacking midfielder Cengiz Ünder whipped the ball to the back post where it was headed back across goal for defender Kaan Ayhan to nod powerfully past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The highly-rated 21-year-old Ünder, who has caught the eye several times with Roma in Italy’s Serie A, put Turkey further ahead 10 minutes later with a fine finish.
France was badly at fault, though, as Barcelona center back Samuel Umtiti and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba both lost the ball in clumsy fashion and in quick succession.
Central midfielder Dorukhan Toköz picked it up and attacked the panicky, retreating defense. He fed a pass to Ünder breaking into the right side of the penalty area, and Under confidently smacked a low shot into the bottom left corner.
Not only the result, but also the level of play and domination by a rejuvenated Turkish squad under coach Şenol Güneş has given the
Turkish fans hope for the future of their team.
“We were one [on the field], we had great synergy,” Güneş said after the game, praising the fans in the Konya stadium stands for their support.
“We gained morale and self-confidence. We refreshed hopes.”
Güneş said his players were solid throughout the match.
“We played a safe, enthusiastic and smart game. We allowed them few positions, and gained a victory to be boosted about against a football country that produces stars.”
The experienced coach, who led Turkey to the third spot in the 2002 World Cup in his previous spell at the national team, noted that the group game at Iceland on June 11 is still very important.
“We gained advantage in the group, but Iceland is our true opponent,” he said.
“I think that France will advance from the group one way or another, a result against Iceland following this victory will give us the edge.
We must pause celebrations and focus on the Iceland match.”
France coach Didier Deschamps fielded nine of the players that started last year’s World Cup final but France struggled to create chances, while goalkeeper Lloris denied Turkey on a number of occasions.
“That was a slap in the face for us and there’s not a lot I can say,” Deschamps told TF1.
“We have a different challenge on Tuesday and I have to say well done to Turkey. We need to get back to basics.
“When you play like that on a collective level there is nothing positive you can take from the game.
“We didn’t put in the match we needed to against a team that played their game. That’s top-level football and it’s the same whether you are world champions or not.”
France will expect to rebound on its trip to minnow Andorra on June 11.
The visiting side blew the Greeks away with three goals in the 10 first-half minutes, with Nicolo Barella opening the scoring when he met an Andrea Belotti pull-back to sweep in the opener.
Lorenzo Insigne doubled Italy’s lead with an exquisite curling finish before Leonardo Bonucci completed the rout by heading in a third after 33 minutes.