Turkish national team in limbo between qualification and disaster

Published 13.06.2017 01:32
Updated 13.06.2017 01:35

It was crucial for Turkey to get nine points out of their three games against Finland and Kosovo, as they only got one point from the top three teams in Group I, namely Croatia, Iceland and Ukraine. And Fatih Terim's players delivered the job. Regardless of the performances in these games, which were far from satisfactory, the fact that the Turkish national team held on to its hopes in the competition gave hope to the country and boosted morale. Nevertheless, until September, when Turkey will start a much harder three-game stretch against Croatia, Iceland and Ukraine, Terim has to find tactics that can compete with these teams, otherwise the same scenario against these teams will happen again.As usual for Fatih Terim, the national team coach made radical changes in the squad before the game and put promising young players in the starting lineup. Watching Cengiz Ünder from Başakşehirspor, Yusuf Yazıcı from Trabzonspor and Çağlar Söyüncü from Freiburg was a joy for Turkish fans, given the team has struggled with the same old faces in recent years.

However, except his choice of young players, Terim's tactics unfortunately have not changed a bit since the beginning of the qualifiers and the last Kosovo game was no exception. Although the team found early goals in the game and Kosovo never seriously threatened the Turkish goal, there was no observable pattern in attack or defense, in other words there was no evidence that Fatih Terim built a plan for this game. Thus, seeing as Kosovo and Turkey had drastic differences in terms of individual quality, the Turkish players managed to cover the lack of organization with their own skill.

The Kosovo national team, being 173th in the FIFA rankings, had nothing to threaten the Turkish national team, with no collective organization whatsoever. Nevertheless, they were able to score a goal from a dead ball, which has been a serious problem for the Turkish national team in recent years. Still, the team continues to concede these goals and regardless of the strength of the opponent, the Turkish national team has a chronic problem with dead ball defense under Terim. After years working with the national team, he should have created a solution but he didn't create one nor has anyone questioned why he hasn't.

So again, Turkish national team is in limbo between qualification and total disaster, hoping a miracle will come to save them. But, the Croatians, Icelanders or Ukrainians are much more talented than the Turks, so do they not need miracles? Of course not, Turkey has a golden generation now that can compete at the top. Then, is it about money? No, these three countries' teams are on roughly an equal footing with Turkey. So the problem is knowing how to organize 11 human beings and play like one body, acting and thinking together, and that is the job of a coach. Right now, no one wants to talk about this because the Turkish national team gets the results, but in September the ugly truth may hit the national team harder than many expect.

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