Turkey in the cold

I was a little disappointed to hear that Turkey did not qualify for the 2006 World Cup. They were beaten by Switzerland on aggregate.
Just three years ago, I roared them on all the way to their last match against South Korea, where they won third place. The day of their first World Cup match against Brazil, I was in Istanbul, sitting in the Atatürk International Airport lounge, watching a fierce-looking player called Hasan Sas nonchalantly fire in a goal, drawing first blood against the world champions. Sas would become my hero, but after rumours of possible transfers to big-name clubs, he faded out of the news.
Nevertheless, watching the Turkish and Korean players joining hands and saluting the audience was one of the best post-match celebrations in my memory – true sportsmanship. They also broke the record for the fastest goal ever scored – was it 8 seconds? – by veteran Hakan Sukur.
And what a glorious welcome the team received back in Turkey. What joyous celebrations in Taksim Square, where I had visited just weeks before! I could picture the scene.
There was talk of even stronger fan support when Turkey (note the certainty of that tone) played in Germany, as they had many countrymen working there. I couldn’t wait!
Then, two years ago, I relished Turkey’s presence in Euro 2004 and was excited to hear they were leading in the tables initially – only to learn that they did not qualify in the end. On TV, I watched dashing striker Ilhan Mansiz gesturing in frustration as he left the changing room. I thought they would learn their lesson and regain their place in the world arena.
But now, it seems that Turkish football’s glorious period is over – almost as quickly as it began.


  1. Serdar Kilic

    I don’t follow Turkish “futbol” too closely but to me it seems to be a real sine wave in action. One point we’re right up there, the next we’re at the other end of the spectrum.
    Much like its economy in the past few years which is now showing signs of becoming less volatile I’m hoping that our football would be a bit more consistent (on the right side of the spectrum!).

Comments are closed.