Turkey captain regrets defensive tactics in collapse


Turkey captain Hakan Çalhanoglu was left with a bitter aftertaste despite a tenacious display as his side let a one-goal lead against Netherlands slip in their Euro 2024 quarterfinal on Saturday, sending them home from the tournament.

In front of a raucous crowd of Turkish fans at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Turkey took a first-half lead through Samet Akaydin, but a header from Stefan de Vrij and an own goal by Mert Müldür breached their defences and saw the Dutch advance.

“When we look at the tournament in general, teams that take a 1-0 lead generally sit back. I don’t know why this is the case, but it was the same for us today. We sat back a lot,” Çalhanoglu told reporters.

“We conceded two goals in seven minutes, which of course hurt us a little. In the end, we tried to try and had a chance with long balls, but we couldn’t take advantage.

“Sometimes things like this happen in football. We need to learn from this. I am proud of everyone.”

With Turkey set to co-host the tournament with Italy in 2032, German-born 30-year-old Çalhanoglu said his side had learned a lot that they could use to build towards the future.

“As long as we are united, as long as we are together, we can achieve anything. We have always shown this,” he said.

Çalhanoglu and several other Turkish players thanked their fans, many of whom live in Germany.

“I would like to thank our country, they supported us very well. We went into the matches as if we were the home team,” midfielder Orkun Kökçü, who was suspended for the Dutch clash, said.

“They were a great motivation for us. We are sad, but in the end it was a tournament that we will be proud of. Hopefully we will be successful in the upcoming tournaments,” he added.



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