Are Turkey dark horses for Euro success?

June 4, 2008

Chatting to some Turkish soccer journalists on Wednesday before the news conference with Nihat Kahveci and Hakan Balta, I got the sense they felt Turkey had some fine young attacking players and a lot of potential but could be fatally weakened at Euro 2008 by a dodgy back line.

“I’m a realist,” said Mutluhan Suner from the Kanalturk private television broadcaster.

“It’s not a bad team but their biggest problem is defence. The backs are not very good and they’ll have to take the game to the opponents to have any chance at all.

“I think Turkey will only take one or two points from the group stage and that won’t be enough.”

Altan Tanrikulu from Hurriyet newspaper said Turkey were worryingly erratic and predicted they would be able to make the semi-finals at best.

Coach Fatih Terim’s surprise decision to leave out VfB Stuttgart midfielder Yildiray Basturk was down to a personality clash that had been simmering for several years, he said. “It was a big mistake not to pick him.”

Milliyet newspaper correspondent Mehmet Demirkol disagreed, saying it was part of Terim’s bid to stamp his authority on the squad.

“He wanted to make the team his own, that’s the way he works,” he said, picking out young forward Mevlut Erdinc as a potential standout player of the tournament.

“He’s a striker but Terim uses him like a right winger and he’s strong on the ball and very fast,” he said.

What are your thoughts? Will Turkey be able to reproduce the form that won them third place at the 2002 World Cup or will they fall at the group stage?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Turkey’s fate is tied to its focus on game not to the opponents. If we can avoid ‘the drama’ then we can go all the way up to the final.

Posted by nyoped | Report as abusive

[…] Source: Iain Rogers […]

Posted by Soccer Camps » Blog Archive » Are Turkey dark horses for Euro success? | Report as abusive

Very interesting article.
If their own journalists speak like that about Turkey, then Portugal better win by at least a 2 goal difference in that Portugal-Turkey match. I think Turkey will fall at the group stage. At least Nihat acknowledged that Portugal has many decisive players like Quaresma. Knowing that it’s not just Cristiano Ronaldo can help Turkey a lot. What a Euro 2008 match!

Posted by Monica 08 | Report as abusive

[…] ALSO: Are Turkey dark horses for Euro success? (Reuters Soccer Blog) Sphere: Related Content Tags: Euro 2008, Terim Fatih, […]

Posted by Footballing World | Euro 2008 Who’s Who – TURKEY | Report as abusive

turkey are surely dark horses in this tournament. there has been talk that they can upset some bigger clubs, but i think they’ll fall short as well. the effort that this team brings forth is unquestionably persistent, however, it does not always result in victory. in order for them to have a chance at getting out of the group they must come up with at least a draw in their first match vs portugal, but they are 1-6 all-time against the portuguese. momentum is a necessary acquisition for the turks and with momentum they can achieve great lengths.

Posted by claudio | Report as abusive