After WW1, the war was over, but the war was continuing for Turkey. The Turkish nation didn’t admit defeat and kept fighting. It was a difficult time for people. History records this war as Turkish War of Independence.
The Turkish National Football Team were on the brink of a very important corner. They rank third behind Iceland and Croatia. Ukraine have 11 points, the same as Turkey. There were 4 matches left to go to reach World Cup 2018 but difficult matches were waiting for Turkey.
From the immemorial time, Turks were going to war in the summer months. This is because moderate climatic condition was appropriate for soldiers. Turks chose August and September months again for the last and great offensive. It was a make or break war.
Again a September day. It was a happy accident. Turkey had to defeat Ukraine and Croatia to go to World Cup 2018. They were make or break matches.
The soldiers, citizens and villagers relied on the army thanks to someone. That someone was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Modern Turkey. The foresighted leader, the chief commander was giving confidence. Didn’t this nation raise great commanders and leaders?
In the last week of July, the manager of Turkey National Team, Fatih Terim was fired. In his private life, he got involved in a fight. He was already criticised by many people because the team was not successful enough, his annual wage was too high and he didn’t maintain discipline in the squad. Fenerbahce’s goalkeeper Volkan Demirel was not invited to the team unjustly and Arda Turan made a statement to the press that he won’t join the national team again because of Fatih Terim. As a result, neither the people relied on him nor he was giving confidence.
Did Turkey find a manager easily after his departure? The Federation approached Besiktas for their manager, Senol Gunes who took Turkey to third in 2002 World Cup. The result was negative. And then, they approahced Basaksehir’s manager, Abdullah Avci who made Basaksehir fantastic. It was negative too. A country where 80 million people live didn’t show a manager who can work for Turkey National Team. This nation didn’t raise great managers, unfortunately! In the end, the Federation agreed with the Romanian manager, Mircea Lucescu who worked for Besiktas and Galatasaray in the past.
Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, Turkish army was ready to attack to Greek Army. Mustafa Kemal knew this was last chance. “Either freedom or death.” That’s why he gathered the large majority of the army at one point. The plan was a quick attack to the enemy in force. Although numerical superiority and technological superiority were with the enemy, the Turkish army won a decisive battle and easily mopped the country up from the enemy.
Under the leadership of Romanian manager, Turkey’s National Team played Ukraine. If you’re wondering how the match went, I can describe it in one sentence. Turkey couldn’t build up the game even from defence against Ukraine’s tight marking and press.
Ukraine 2 – 0 Turkey
Hopes were running out, the next challenge was against Croatia. The home team Turkey weren’t being shown as the favourites. Croatian players didn’t allow Turkey to build up the game with passes. This caused Turkey to prefer long balls. Croatian defenders Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren had the advantage of their height against long balls. However, Lucescu preferred Burak Yilmaz and Cenk Tosun. They also used the advantage of height as much as their opponents. Turkish players passed fast and tried to be effective in the attacking phases. In the 75th minute. the midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup shot out of box and the goalkeeper didn’t manage to control the ball as Cenk Tosun got on the stage.
Turkey 1 – 0 Croatia
Turkey’s National Football Team didn’t do what the Turkish army did 95 years ago. They didn’t win a decisive victory. History doesn’t always repeat itself.