Turkey hits rock bottom

Turkey hits rock bottom

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey hits rock bottom

Turkish players are dejected after the team suffered a shock 3-1 defeat against Hungary. Turkey is now left far behind the Netherlands, Hungary and Romania in the group and its chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup are virtually over.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is a distant dream for Turkey as the national football team hit rock bottom with a heavy 3-1 defeat in Hungary on Oct. 16.

With just three points, Turkey is now level with Estonia in fourth spot in Group D of the European qualifiers. The Netherlands has 12 points after a convincing 4-1 win over Romania.

Hungary and Romania are tied with nine points, holding a six-point advantage over Turkey with six matches to go.

Turkey now has a mountain to climb and even the improbable likelihood of the team running the table – a streak that would require an away win in Romania and a last-day victory over the Netherlands, might not be enough for the team to secure second spot and a place in the playoffs.

The winners of the nine qualifying groups, along with the winners of four playoff ties between the best runners-up, will earn the right to head to Brazil.

With just one win in four matches, Turkey is experiencing its worst performance in almost two decades of European Championship and World Cup qualification. The last time Turkey only managed to collect three points after four matches was in the failed attempt to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

Despite the gloomy picture, coach Abdullah Avcı refused to discuss resigning from his post.

“I have not thought about resignation, and I won’t,” Avcı, who will complete his first year as Turkey’s coach next month, told Turkish television channel NTV Spor. “Turkish football’s problems will not be solved by resignations, but by continuity and consistency.”

The former Istanbul BB and Turkish U-20 team coach has posted five wins and six defeats in his 11 games with Turkey.

Comeback defeat
On Oct. 16, Hungary came from behind to defeat Turkey 3-1 after goals from Vladimir Koman, Adam Szalai and Zoltan Gera. Turkey scored first when Mevlüt Erdinç slid the ball into the net after a pass from the left flank by Caner Erkin in the 22nd minute.

The setback seemed to revive the Hungarian team, which leveled in the 31st when what looked like a cross from Koman took a strange bounce to catch goalkeeper Volkan Demirel off-guard and ended up in the goal.

Szalai then made it 2-1 in the 50th minute, while Gera scored from the penalty spot seven minutes later after Szalai had been brought down by Hamit Altıntop.

Coach Avcı said allowing the equalizer changed the course of the game.

“The game was going the way we wanted it to be, but then we conceded a very simple goal in the 31st minute,” he said. “It is sad to see us going down after playing well and scoring [the first] goal.”

But Avcı said the team would not give up the fight. “We will go on without surrendering. We will see what will happen after six matches.”

Turkish football hits new low

Turkish football’s free fall has hit a new low with two blows on and off the pitch, with the national football team effectively throwing in the towel on the World Cup qualifiers on Oct. 16 and one of its major teams being dealt another severe punishment the day after.

Turkey lost 3-1 to Hungary to fall far behind its opponents in the race for World Cup qualification. Turkey is now six points behind Romania and Hungary; the performance matches its worst qualifying performance in decades. Apart from the loss, Turkey’s ineffectual performance and its failure to play a regular squad are unpromising. The second blow came from Switzerland as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against Beşiktaş in its case with former player Matteo Ferrari. The cash-strapped club has to pay 7.8 million euros worth of compensation to the Italian defender, opening another chapter in a perilous economic saga. Beşiktaş, who was forced to pay 6.7 million euros in compensation to coach Vicente Del Bosque five years ago, was already barred from playing in this season’s European competitions due to financial irregularities.