Turkey qualify for Euro 2016 after dramatic last gasp free kick

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Football News

It has been a sensational turnaround for Turkey. After the first three games of the qualifiers for next summer's European Championships in France, they had just one point and were seemingly destined to simply make up the numbers.

In a group that, on paper, was always going to be hard to qualify through with Czech Republic, Holland and Iceland posing the biggest threats, it was a predicament few in Turkey were surprised about. 

Norway and Ukraine both finished their groups with 19 points, one more than Turkey's 18, however, due to the qualifying regulations, the points won against the sixth-placed sides are discounted and as such, with Kazakhstan beating Latvia as both teams tied on five points at the foot of the group, Turkey's two draws against Latvia ultimately played to their advantage.


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Coach Fatih Terim has a wealth of experience and has managed sides to success from struggling positions before. Fans of international football will be able to remember the battling Turkish side in the Euro 2008 tournament where they came from behind on three occasions to reach the semi-finals.

He, perhaps over anybody, deserves immense credit for having steered a once struggling side to next summer's Euros.

Battling Spirit

The never-say-die attitude has encapsulated their qualifying campaign and slowly but surely they pulled themselves back into contention. Their last-gasp victory against Iceland was the tenth game of an amazing unbeaten run which saw them beat group winners Czech Republic 2-0 away from home as well as inflicting a somewhat shock 3-0 defeat over Holland. 

Midfield Class

While the defence has undoubtedly improved since the start of qualifying, it has been their talented midfielders who have led them on to qualification. Hakan Calhanoglu, Oghuzan Ozyakup and Gokhan Tore have provided youthful inspiration and a timely reminder that the future is as bright as it ever has been for Turkish football.

It has been midfield stalwarts Selcuk Inan and the new Barcelona playmaker Arda Turan, however, who have stolen the headlines with their goals and assists. 

It was the Galatasaray man Inan who rifled home a free-kick with 90 seconds left of a 900 minute qualifying campaign to send them through to next summer's tournament in front of thousands of home supporters.

It was the most dramatic of ways to qualify and there is no doubt that they deserved it after showing such strength and determination in the face of such a dire situation at the start of qualification. France will be a better and brighter place for having them and their wonderful fans next summer. 

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