A country that has not tasted a major tournament appearance since EURO 2008 is Turkey. That particular competition is where they enjoyed a semi-final appearance against Germany who managed to grab the 3-2 victory. It has since been six years and this nation will only continue to gain an appetite.
The fans have stood behind them throughout every single success and letdown which shows that they are loyal. However, there comes a time where even fans — loyal or not — deserve true success.
With the World Cup just months away, Turkey will once again have to watch at home while 32 nations take part in the world’s most prestigious competition. This means that the coaching staff and players even can mentally as well as physically prepare for the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign.
Let’s take a look at the five nations the Turks will have to outscore to inch closer to Europe’s best international competition.
Turkey faced Holland twice in WC 2014 qualifying and lost both home and away matches by the same score of 2-0. With that set in stone, a new game plan will need to be created by Fatih Terim who knows how to win big games. He needs to get his best squad of players to play some great soccer in order to stand a chance against the group favorites. Revenge will be on their minds.
Iceland is a nation that just lost out on a place in their first ever World Cup when they lost 2-0 on aggregate to the Croatians in the playoff stage. By making it that far, they showed that they have what it takes to play with the big boys. They are expected to give the Turks a lot of trouble so they can not be taken lightly by any means.
The Czech Republic suffered one of the most heart-breaking losses in recent history when they lost 3-2 to Turkey in the quarter-finals of EURO 2008. They had built a 2-0 lead with their second goal arriving when Turkey had a man on the sidelines waiting to come back onto the field after a slight injury. Call it divine intervention if you will, but Arda Turan scored once while Nihat Kahveci added the second and third goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation to hand them the historic victory. This is a sour taste in Czech mouths everywhere, so winning this tie is a must for them.
In the EURO 2004 playoffs, Turkey were shocked in a 1-0 loss during the first leg in Latvia only to be even more surprised when they let a 2-0 lead slip to a 2-2 draw, thus, giving the Baltic nation a gift passage to the group stage. This competitive rematch has been in the making since 2003 so it is only fitting that these two nations meet again on two different occasions. Turkey have to win these games to delete that horrible memory.
Lastly, we have Kazakhstan which is a nation that continues to learn as each qualifying campaign passes. Turkey won 3-0 in Kazakhstan and only 2-1 at home during the last two meetings between these two nations. We will most likely see two games that are competitive and close when it comes to scoring.
Folks, this will be a group full of vengeful nations that are also eager to soar up to new heights. This will be one of the most competitive groups and the most fun to watch. Stay tuned as Rant Sports will have you covered along the way.