Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turk Triumph! Milli Takim Heads for EURO 2008!

Turk Triumph! Milli Takim Heads for EURO 2008!
By Nathan L. Redd

Turkiye's Milli Takim ended the qualification stage for EURO 2008 just the way they had played throughout - lots of drama and a nail-biting finish. In the end, Turkiye put away Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in Istanbul to qualify for EURO 2008. It's the first major championship Turkiye has qualified for since the 2002 World Cup.

With Norway putting away Malta, Turkiye knew they needed nothing less than a win to qualify. Right before the half, Villareal's Nihat Kahveci struck first to put the Turks up 1-0. Hamit Altintop provided a beautiful cross into the box that Kahveci was able to put into the back of the net. The second half started with Fenerbahce's Semih Senturk picking up a yellow card three minutes in. Bosnia pressured the Turks trying to find an equalizer as the second half wore on. Fatih Terim made his first substitution at the 61-minute mark when he replaced Senturk with Sabri Sarioglu. Hamit Altintop was unable to convert a corner afterwards, and the score continued at 1-0.

With the Norway result in their heads, Turkiye knew they may need another goal to guarantee qualification. Terim had the squad pushing forward, but the Turks also gave Bosnia many opportunities with fouls, allowing Bosnia to gain more chances to tie the game. With fifteen minutes left to play, Terim made another substitution to try to strengthen the squad. Former Fener star Tuncay Sanli came in for Arda Turan with a hope of added offense. Bosnia continued to get opportunities as the match wore down, and Terim replaced Nihat Kahveci with Gokdeniz just before the end of regulation. Neither team was able to penetrate the defense, and after four minutes of stoppage time, the whistle was blown sending the Turks through to EURO 2008.

Turkiye finished with nine shots compared to only three for Bosnia. The game featured a plethora of fouls, with Bosnia committing 22 and Turkiye committing 14. After Bosnia controlled possession for most of the first half, the Turks gained the possession favor in the second half and finished with a 52% possession time.

Fenerbahce's Mehmet Aurelio, Semih Senturk and Gokhan Gonul were all part of Fatih Terim's starting eleven. Former Fenerbahce footballers Rustu Recber and Servet Cetin were also in the starting lineup.

More to come on Turkiye's triumphant victory!

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