The Turkish national team satisfied their fans over an outstanding defensive performance and successful results on the road to the UEFA EURO 2020.
Turkey qualified for the next year’s European Football Championship following Thursday’s draw against Iceland 0-0 as solid defensive performance in general took them to Europe’s top-tier tournament.
In the European qualifiers, Turkey defended their goal very well in home matches as they didn’t concede any goal in the games against Moldova, France, Andorra, Albania and Iceland.
Turkey’s center back tandem, Merih Demiral from Juventus and Leicester City player Caglar Soyuncu, were vital players in fight for the UEFA EURO 2020 ticket.
The duo were bolstered by Schalke center back Ozan Kabak and Kaan Ayhan of Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Turkey had 23 saves in the qualifying round but conceded only three goals. They had seven clean sheets in nine matches as well.
With a cemented defensive line, Turkey averaged 0.3 goal conceded per game.
Separately the national team scored 16 goals against their opponents, tallying 1.78 goals per match.
Turkey were shown 22 yellow cards, while not seeing any red card in the qualifying stage.
Goalkeeper Mert Gunok and defenders Zeki Celik and Demiral were Turkey regulars in this period, playing in all games.
Turkey faced France, Iceland, Albania, Moldova and Andorra in the Group H of the EURO 2020 qualifying round, collecting 20 points in nine matches with six wins, two draws and only one defeat.
Turkey defeated underdog nations Albania and Moldova in each four matches to gain 12 points. They got 4 points from the 2018 FIFA World Cup winners France in two matches, which meant a heroic performance for Turkey.
In addition, the Turkish national team beat Andorra 1-0 in a challenging match at home while they will face Andorra for their last match in the qualifications on Nov. 17.
Iceland were tough opponents of Turkey, handing their only defeat in the qualifiers to Turkey in an away match, 2-1.
- Everton’s Tosun becomes top scorer
Everton forward Cenk Tosun is currently the top scorer with five goals for Turkey.
Playing for Fortuna Dusseldorf in Germany, Kaan Ayhan surprisingly followed him with three goals.
Ayhan put the ball into the France net twice, one at home and the other at Stade de France, Saint-Denis.
Turkey boss Gunes makes history
Team manager Senol Gunes went down in the Turkish football history, being the first Turkish head who takes his country to World Cup and EURO tournaments.
In the first term of Gunes, Turkey amazed the global football community as the team ranked third in the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.
Under Gunes’ helm, Turkey eye the top spot in the EURO 2020.
EURO journeys of Turkey
Turkey’s maiden EURO tournament was the 1996 competition, when they got eliminated in the group phase in England.
They then qualified for the EURO 2000, where Portugal eliminated Turkey in the last eight.
Turkey missed the EURO 2004 in Portugal, but reached semifinals in the EURO 2008.
They did not qualify for the EURO 2012 co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Turkey last joined the EURO tournament in 2016, but the team made an early exit, failing to reach the knockout stages in France.
Turkey recently bagged the EURO 2020 ticket.
The qualification marked Turkey’s fifth spell at EURO finals, as they previously gained it in 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2016.
12 cities to host EURO 2020
The EURO 2020 will be held across Europe for the first time in the competition’s history, with 12 cities to host.
European football’s top-tier international event will be held from June 12 to July 12. The tournament will start with a Rome match and end in London.
The matches will be played in Azerbaijan, Germany, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland and the U.K.
The EURO 2020 finals draw will be held in the Romanian capital Bucharest on Nov. 30.
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