2008 Turkey Euro Soccer Preview
by Doc's Sports - 04/21/2008
The 'Crescent-Stars' are probably the least publicized team in Group A. Clumped in with world football powers Czech Republic and Portugal, as well as home side Switzerland, it's easy for Turkey to mentally install themselves as the true underdogs to open Euro 2008.
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Coming off a massive disappointment of not qualifying for the World Cup in 2006, as they ironically lost out in a playoff on away goals to Switzerland, of all nations. So frankly, revenge will be on the minds of this Turkish squad when they arrive for play in June. When you add in that Turkey didn't qualify for Euro 2004, this country knows the importance of reestablishing to the world that they are still a strong football nation and can compete with the best in Europe.
Golden Player Watch - Hakan Sukur, F
This local hero has brought great pride to Turkish football. Sükür plays his club ball for home side Galatasaray and has been a demonstrative part for Turkey's ascent in the sport since the early 1990s. He currently is his country's all-time leading goal scorer with 51 and is second in appearances for his country with 112 caps.
Sükür is one of 12 current Turkey national team players to play their club ball domestically. But unlike most other players that will play in Euro 2008, a strong contingent of Turkey's footballers play for club within their own country. A lot of the time high priority and skill players from England, Spain, Italy and France are scattered around the continent playing for Europe's best club teams. And while all nations competing have time to gel as a nation, getting to see your fellow countrymen during club seasons can prove to be very important to establish continuity.
Reason Why They Will Advance to Elimination Round
Turkey has something to prove. Not making it to the final tournament for both Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006, do not underestimate how important it is to be on the main stage for these players. They'll certainly play with a sense of urgency, wanting to make up for lost time and missed opportunities. While I'd likely rank them as the fourth skilled country among Group A's four squads, the smooth play of this team can excel on this level. Turkey's highest FIFA ranking ever was fifth right before they missed out on Euro 2004, and ever since then that number has slipped considerably. These three games are unbelievably important to Turkey, and knowing that we'll see the joy in which its players compete with in the opening round.
Group Play Schedule
Turkey vs. Portugal - June 7
Turkey vs. Switzerland - June 11
Turkey vs. Czech Republic - June 15