Turkey bids farewell to Euro 2016
AFP photoThe Turkish national football team’s Euro 2016 odyssey came to an end on June 22 after its hopes of reaching the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams was dashed by a late goal from Ireland.
Turkey beat the Czech Republic 2-0 on June 21 to finish third in Group D with three points, and was hoping to be among the four best third-placed finishers to advance to the last 16 stage.
Turkey’s departure has increased the pressure on coach Fatih Terim and star players such as Arda Turan, who were severely criticized for lackluster performances in defeats against Croatia and Spain to begin the tournament.
Turkey was just five minutes from securing a last-16 matchup with Gareth Bale’s Wales, but Robbie Brady’s 85th-minute header secured a famous victory for Ireland over Italy to knock the Crescent and Star out of the competition.
On June 22, Cristiano Ronaldo hit a double to become the first player to score in four European Championships and rescue Portugal in a thrilling 3-3 draw that secured a last-16 place.
Iceland set up a last-16 clash with England as substitute Arnor Ingvi Traustason’s last-gasp winner earned the Euro debutant a famous 2-1 win over Austria.
Also in Ireland’s group, Belgium beat Sweden 1-0 to both move into the last 16 and consign Sweden to elimination, ending Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s international career in the process.
Ireland, Belgium, Iceland and Portugal joined host France, Wales, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, England, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Northern Ireland and Hungary in the last 16.