Turkish national football team is aiming to reach the knockout stages of the Euro 2020 and qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, coach Şenol Güneş said Tuesday.
In an interview with the state broadcaster, TRT Spor, Güneş said the team is excited about the World Cup qualifiers, scheduled to start in March.
“We start the group stages against the two stronger opponents – Norway and the Netherlands. We’re fully motivated for the ties. Our target is to qualify for the World Cup.
Güneş famously was at the helm of the Turkish national team that made history by becoming third in the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.
Recalling that success, Güneş said: “We last participated in the 2002 World Cup, which marked some huge achievements for our national team. It also improved the image of our country.”
“But, 20 years have passed since. It’s important for national teams to qualify for the World Cup.”
“The Netherlands is 14th, Norway is 44th in the world ranking and we’re 32nd. Both are upcoming teams.”
The national team coach also discussed the upcoming Euro 2020, which was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"If we want to move to the second round, we need to come out of a group that includes Italy, Switzerland and Wales. Our opponents might be strong but we need to level up as well. We need to move up between 10-20th place in the FIFA ranking.
Talking about the current Turkish squad, Güneş said, “This is a team that earned the country’s respect. Of course, there will be changes but our door is open to all. However, the newcomers must show better performance.”
“We’re always scouting for talents. This is our team, this is everyone’s team ... the national team’s performance can inspire the next generation of footballers.”
Güneş also weighed in on the recent controversy over the low-quality pitch in some Süper Lig matches.
"A bad pitch is a good team’s biggest enemy. The (pitch for) Fenerbahçe-Göztepe match was terrible. The football federation should pay a certain amount of the broadcast fee to teams for pitch.”
“Better pitches are a must for better Turkish football and footballers. No one pays for the pitch, they only pay for transfers.” Güneş said.
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