Turkey claim Euro 2016 spot as best third-placed team

Published 10/14/2015, 2:33 AM EDT
Turkey’s players celebrate after winning their Euro 2016 Group A qualification soccer match against Iceland in Konya, Turkey, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas


ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey snatched automatic qualification for Euro 2016 as the best third-placed team with a last-gasp goal to secure a 1-0 win at home to Iceland thanks to Selcuk Inan’s free-kick on Tuesday.

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The Turks, who finished with 10 men after midfielder Gokhan Tore was shown a straight red card after 77 minutes for a shocking challenge on Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, had to wait until the 89th minute for Inan to score from 25 metres.

Turkey’s Arda Turan (C) fights for the ball with Iceland’s Ragnar Sigurdsson (L) and Kari Arnason during their Euro 2016 Group A qualification soccer match in Konya, Turkey, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkey finished with 18 points ahead of the Netherlands on 13, after the Dutch suffered a 3-2 home defeat by the Czech Republic who won Group A with 22 points, two ahead of Iceland. The Turks edged Hungary for the best third-place finish.

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“As a country we really needed this win to feel happy, even for a few hours maybe. We are so happy to have offered some happiness to our people,” said coach Fatih Terim.

He was referring to last weekend’s bombing in the capital Ankara that killed almost 100 people.

Turkey’s and Iceland’s players observe a minute of silence for the 97 victims of the bombing in Ankara last Saturday, before their Euro 2016 Group A qualification soccer match in Konya, Turkey, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

“We have a younger team now, and it’s making us even more proud that this young bunch achieved this,” he added, saying Turkey will go to Euro 2016 with an even younger squad.

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Iceland, having already won a place at next year’s finals in France, failed to cause the Turkey defence much trouble and had to settle for second place in the group, leaving the home fans to celebrate amid jubilant scenes on the pitch in Konya.

Turkey’s players celebrate after their Euro 2016 Group A qualification soccer match against Iceland in Konya, Turkey, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Delighted Turkey captain and midfielder Arda Turan said: “We made such a poor start to the group. But we believed, we fought, and we succeeded. We are so delighted not to have disappointed our people who never gave up on us.”

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(Writing by Ece Toksabay; editing by Ken Ferris)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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