Euro 2020: Turkey's failures and the reasons behind it
|Burak Yilmaz and the Turkish national team underperformed at the Euro Championship but where do they go from here?
Turkey crashed out of the ongoing Euro 2020 championship after promising to much and delivering absolutely nothing, with most people banking on them after their sensational win over the Netherlands in a warm-up game sometime in March.
Who would have thought that Turkey would ship 8 goals (same
as North Macedonia) and only find the back of the net once, losing all three
games and one can even argue that they did without a fight.
Prior to the tournament, Turkey had won four of their six 2021 games and drew the other two, only England and Sweden have a better record than that.
The entire country hoped on Senol Gumes to repeat his feat of a
third-place finish at the 2002 world cup in Asia.
You can’t fault them for being optimistic, the signs were there that Turkey was going to perform well.
The 4-2 win over the Netherlands was one, but beating France in Turkey and recording a draw in France was a good premise for confidence.
But it was not
just the Turkish players’ form that excited people. Yilmaz, affectionately
known by Turkish supporters as “Kral” — meaning “the King” — met up with his
national team-mates fresh off winning the French title as Lille’s top scorer,
netting 16 goals with five assists.
Where did it go
wrong for the Turks?
Yilmaz at Lille is a different story,
he had the pace of Jonathan David, the incision of Jonathan Ikone and the vision
of Jonathan Bamba, but he lacked a proven Jonathan in the Turkish team,
prompting his xG to fall at 1.0 in all games, which means he will need ten
shots on goal to score once, it was that poor.
All eyes were on Hakan Cahanoglu,
particularly because the tournament was meant to help him get the right suitor
with contract talks stalling between his team and AC Milan, he was meant to be
the Jonathan to Yilmaz.
Calhanoglu was only able to
register one assist throughout the tournament but as you may have heard, he has
crossed to AC Milan’s city rivals and reigning Serie A champions Inter Milan.
You can point at the bluntness of
the attack and their unwillingness to commit bodies during counter-attacks,
they sat deep too much against Italy, probably looking for a draw and planning
to go hard on Wales and Switzerland but that was not to be.
Turkey didn’t get the memo, it’s
a team sport
In the game against Italy, Turkey isolated Yilmaz upfront for him to handle Georgio Chiellini and Leo Bonucci on his own, there’s only one result with that.
And subsequently against Wales and the Swiss, each of the players seemed to be fighting alone.
What was the game plan? One couldn’t
really pick out a pattern, Cengiz Under offered the only bright lights to the
team but he started on the bench at first and looking into the future, there
might be a probe into how Turkey underperformed at the Euros.
Maybe the weight of expectation was too huge for them to bear, but the 2-0 loss to Wales epitomized the disappointment of the supporters.
And with an opportunity for the best third, no
one expected Turkey not to even register a point.