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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Euro 2008 Turkey Preliminary Squad

If you look back to 2002 FIFA World Cup, you can see a talented team in Turkey which ended up winning third place in the tournament, the best ever result by any Turkish team in a major football tournament. Following the success of 2002 world cup, Turkey lost the momentum in the next four years failing to qualify for EURO 2004 and 2006 FIFA World Cup. So, since the dreamy finish at 2002 World Cup, Turkey is going to have their next big tournament in EURO 2008, which begins from 7 June 2008. So, it seems Turkey has got to revive their performance and regain their pride at the big stage. In this mission, Turkey is getting Fatih Terim as coach who in his first spell as Turkey coach led Turkey to qualify for EURO 1996, first time Turkey played in EURO competition. So, Turkish fans are hoping Turkey will revitalize their lost pride in EURO 2008 tournament.

In Euro 2008 tournament, Turkey was drawn in Group A where they will meet host Switzerland, last tournament’s beaten finalists Portugal and Europe’s emerging team Czech Republic. So, it is clear that reaching the knock out stage would not be easy for Turkey, as Portugal and Czech Republic are expected to form a tough challenge for Turkey, while Switzerland might play inspirational football in front of the home crowd. Here, it is noteworthy to mention that Turkey failed to qualify for 2006 World Cup begin lost to Switzerland on away goals. Considering all these things, it is apparent that Turkey has to show a solid performance in order to make it to the next round of EURO 2008.


Competing Teams


7 June 2008


Turkey vs Portugal

Stade de Genève, Geneva

11 June 2008


Turkey vs Switzerland

St. Jakob-Park, Basel

15 June 2008


Turkey vs Czech Republic

Stade de Genève, Geneva

Turkey in UEFA Euro Competition

This is going to be the third tournament for Turkey in Euro competition, 1996 and 2000 being the previous two tournaments Turkey took part. In 1996, Turkey failed to impress losing all the group stage games without scoring any goals. However, Turkey made a solid come back making the quarter finals thanks to a win, a draw and a defeat in the group stage. However, their run ended in the quarter final, being defeated by Portugal 2-0. So, ahead of Euro 2008, Turkish fans are hoping that Turkey would replicate their Euro 2000 success, if not go beyond.

Fatih Terim announced the 26-men preliminary squad of Turkey for Euro 2008 tournament. Three players will be dropped from the squad when Terim will declare the 23-men squad by May 28. The biggest and surprising omission of the preliminary squad is Turkey’s star striker and their all time leading goal scorer Hakan Sukur. He is one of the star footballers emerged in last one decade in world football. In the absence of Sukur, goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber might wear the captain’s armband during Euro 2008 competition. Here, I am giving the 26-men preliminary squad of Turkey from turks.us:

Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel (Fenerbahce), Rustu Recber (Besiktas), Tolga Zengin (Trabzonspor).

Defenders: Gokhan Gonul (Fenerbahce), Sabri Sarioglu (Galatasaray), Gokhan Zan (Besiktas), Ibrahim Kas (Besiktas), Emre Asik (Ankaraspor), Servet Cetin (Galatasaray), Hakan Kadir Balta (Galatasaray), Ugur Boral (Fenerbahce).
Midfielders: Mehmet Aurelio (Fenerbahce), Mehmet Topal (Galatasaray), Tumer Metin (Larissa), Hamit Altintop (Bayern Munchen), Ayhan Akman (Galatasaray), Kazim Kazim (Fenerbahce) Tuncay Sanli (Middlesbrough FC), Arda Turan (Galatasaray), Emre Belozoglu (Newcastle United FC), Yildiray
Basturk (VfB Stuttgart).

Forwards: Gokdeniz Karadeniz (Rubin Kazan), Nihat Kahveci (Villarreal CF), Semih Senturk (Fenerbahce), Halil Altintop (Schalke 04), Mevlut Erdinc (Sochaux).

Striker Nihat Kahveci is perhaps the main strength of Turkish attack. In fact, in absence of Hakan Sukur, Turkish fans will look at Nihat Kahveci to fill up the void left by Sukur. The current Villarreal striker has been regularly scoring in La Liga and finding the goals easy to come by these days. He is in good form which could be a big relief for Turkish fans. There is someone whom you should watch out in Euro 2008: Gokdeniz Karadeniz. This playmaker is currently playing for Russian club Rubin Kazan. Both Gokdeniz and Kahveci are expected to be in the fore front of the Turkish attack. They have a very experienced goalkeeper too. So, the Altintop brothers are also there to serve their best to Turkey in Euro 2008. I think, Turkey has a balanced squad and could be a threat for any side if they can play their natural football. However, the absence of Hakan Sukur could be felt too. Overall, I think, Turkey has a good chance in Euro 2008 tournament.

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