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Worldcup is approaching, we are all so excited. Here is an interesting article i found in http://www.turkishdailynews.com/FrTDN/latest/sport2.htm

If one of them volunteered to keep goal, the 11 Turkish talents playing at European clubs would be enough to form a national team.

The provisional 28-member squad announced by Turkey coach Senol Gunes on Monday relies heavily on what Turks call "legionnaires," players plying their trade abroad like Hakan Sukur at Parma, Yildiray Basturk at Leverkusen and Tugay Kerimoglu at Blackburn.

These players will form the backbone of the Turkish squad in the World Cup, and will likely dominate the midfield and attack in front of home-grown keeper Rustu Recber.

Until a few years ago, Turkey was an importer rather than an exporter of talent. But Sukur's transfer to Italy's Torino in 1995, though it didn't work out in the end, changed the balance of trade.

Turkey also began to take advantage of the talents of German-born Turks, trained in European-style soccer at an early age. Several were in the squad that reached the country's first European Championship finals in 1996.

Turkish soccer has been on the up ever since. The national team surprised many by reaching the quarterfinals of Euro 2000, and Turkish club Galatasaray registered an even bigger shock by lifting the UEFA Cup the same year.

Turkey seems to have established a presence on the world stage, but how far can it go? This summer's World Cup finals -- Turkey's first since 1954 -- might provide an answer.

Judging by the disoriented and lethargic team on view in recent warm-up games, it might not be the answer that Turks -- who expect a slick and adventurous passing game from their team -- are hoping to hear.

Gunes has less than a month to build cohesion in the team without relying over much on the natural aphrodisiac of national events for passionate Turks.

The countdown to Turkey's second World Cup appearance since 1954 is also "a journey into the unknown," Galatasaray's influential attacking midfielder Hasan Sas said. In 1954, Turkey finished ninth, winning one match and losing two.

Still, Sas and captain Bulent Korkmaz are happy to face four-time world champion Brazil when Turkey makes its debut on June 3 in Ulsan, South Korea. Costa Rica and China are its other opponents in Group C.

"We only know Brazil," Sas said. "Costa Rica and China are closed boxes for us."

Turks are accustomed to the style of the South American powerhouse, from the Brazilian trainer Carlos Alberta Parreira -- who guided Brazil to its fourth World Cup title in 1994 -- who spent a year in charge of Turkish club Fenerbahce in 1996.

However, the Turkish coach is confident after watching both China and Costa Rica in action.

"If we play like we always play, strong, aggressive and well organized, then I think that China and Costa Rica won't be a problem for us," Gunes has said.

Gunes will try to pull opponents out of shape with pressure from Inter Milan midfielders Okan Buruk and Emre Belozoglu as well as Basturk and Kerimoglu.

Aston Villa defender Alpay Ozalan has been called to strengthen the defense despite a slow recovery from an ankle injury which has sidelined him since the New Year.

Turkish hopes of advancing to the second round are pinned to the feet -- and head -- of legendary striker Sukur, who averages a goal every two games for the national side.

Gunes will have to whittle the squad down to 23 players for the World Cup finals, but almost all of the 11 Europe-based players are expected to make the cut.
 

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Very interesting article Kaya;

I believe if we naturally had EU status, then the number of players abroad would be more than 5 times it is now. Maybe in the future...
 

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a very long article from soccerage...

SA Guest Opinion: Turkey Ready To Surprise The World
News Archive

Nihat in action (Allsport)
05/13/2002. In a tournament dominated mostly by European and South American teams, recollect how Cameroon made World Cup history by becoming the first ever African nation to reach a quarterfinal, after defeating Colombia 2-1 in the second round of Italia '90.

Four years later in USA '94, Bulgaria, who had failed to even win a World Cup match in 16 previous attempts, not only advanced from the group stages, but also made headlines by first beating Mexico, and then Germany, to reach the semis. Even though they would end this World Cup in 4th place, their performance as a whole was quite spectacular.

And of course, who could ever forget the Croatian team of France '98? Not many people expected them to even make it through the group stages, but they silenced all their doubters, and surprised even themselves by finishing the tournament in third place.

It has now become almost a matter of necessity to have at least one such surprise team at every World Cup. They draw all of the footballing world's attention towards them, and sometimes feature an even more impressive style of play than the so-called 'favorites'. Cameroon did it in '90, Bulgaria in '94 and Croatia in '98. This time around Ireland, Slovenia, and Poland all seem to be likely contenders, but my prediction is that Turkey will be the team that will cause the most upsets in this year's competition.

Great things are expected of the Turkish team in Japan and South Korea; and I strongly believe that they won't let their fanatical supporters down.

PREVIOUS COMPETITIONS

This is only the second World Cup that Turkey have ever qualified for, their first in 48 years. Having previously won the European U-17 and U-19 championship, the success of the current Turkish team was in the cards for a while. In 1996, they had a chance to prove their potential after qualifying for their first European Championship – Euro '96. This tournament however, was a dead failure for the red outfit as they finished the tournament with no points, and no goals to their name. But it was still a start.

Four years later though, they would compensate for their failure in England by advancing from the group stages of Euro '2000 ahead of Sweden and Belgium. They would eventually lose to Portugal in the quarterfinals, but their performance in this tournament gave hope to the Turkish fans, who started to believe that there were better things to come.

As far as the squad is concerned, not much has changed since Euro '2000. Senol Gunes replaced Mustafa Denizli as coach, but the team is still almost entirely based around the UEFA Cup winning Galatasaray side of 2000.

THE ROAD TO JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA

As for the qualification to the 2002 World Cup, Turkey couldn't have been placed into an easier qualifying group. With the likes of Slovakia, Macedonia, Moldova and Azerbaijan, placed in the grouping, it meant that they were left to fight for the group's first place with Sweden. In that unforgettable game, the World Cup was only minutes away from Turkeys grasp, as they were leading Sweden 1-0 up in Istanbul, but two late Swedish goals meant that Turkey had to settle for second place and were to face Austria in the playoffs, in what was to be Turkey's most important game in 50 years. With the entire nation of 65 million plus behind them, Turkey comfortably defeated Austria 6-0 on aggregate, which included an impressive 5-0 victory at home, and booked their well-deserved place in the World Cup.

KEY PLAYERS

Almost all of the players in the squad being sent to the World Cup have been playing together since age 17. They are extremely organized, and like to close down on the opposition with effective pressing. This tactic has proved influential not only for the national team, but also for Galatasaray, who have had enormous success in Europe in the past few seasons.

Turkey's strength is undoubtedly in its midfield. For the World Cup, Senol Gunes has called up almost all of his foreign-based players that include Okan Buruk of Inter Milan, Blackburn's Tugay and Hakan Unsal, Tayfun and Nihat of Real Sociedad, and Muzzy Izzet – one of the English Premiership's most on-form players. Ergun and Hasan Sas of Galatasaray, as well as Fenerbahce's left-winger Abdullah were also included in the squad. The team was dealt a heavy blow though, after Sergen Yalcin of Galatasaray injured himself during a league game. His absence in the World Cup will most definitely be felt, as he was considered by many to be one of the most skillful players Turkish football has ever seen.

Two other key players are Aston Villa's central defender Alpay and irreplaceable goalkeeper Rustu Recber, who will incidentally also be moving to Villa after the World Cup.

As for young talent… Turkey has plenty of it. I recommend you keep an eye on 21-year-old midfielder Emre Belozoglu, who is almost certain to make a big impact in the World Cup, just as Michael Owen so famously did in France '98. Emre, who after winning the UEFA Cup with Galatasaray, moved onto Inter Milan, is being hailed by many experts as the player of the future. Arsenal have already been reported to be watching Emre closely for quite some time now, and are keen to sign him in the near future.

Another player to keep an eye on is 23-year-old Yildiray Basturk of Bayer Leverkusen, who played a key role for the club this season, be it in the Budesliga, or in the Champions League. This is a player with a very bright future, and Turkey will be relying on his experience at the World Cup.

As for forwards, there is one name that comes to everyone's mind – and that is Hakan Sukur, arguably one of the most successful strikers in Turkish history. He too was part of the UEFA Cup winning Galatasaray side, and after a brief, unsuccessful spell at Inter Milan, moved onto Parma, where he currently plays. Even though everyone expects Sukur to be the chief supplier of the team's goals, don't underestimate Ilhan Mansiz, who is almost certain to partner Sukur up front after his outstanding performance this season for his club Besiktas, where he became the Turkish league's top goal scorer.

CRUNCH TIME

The only problem the Turkish team is facing is the lack of consistency. Fans were beginning to get impatient with the results of recent friendly games in the build-up to the World Cup, and they had only just recently ended a 5-year friendly game winning drought by beating Chile 2-0. However, when it comes to an official game, they understand the seriousness of the situation, and it's almost as if there's a different team on the pitch.

As far as this year's World Cup is concerned, Turkey have been lucky so far. They have been drawn into a relatively easy group that includes Brazil, China and Costa Rica. Brazil and Turkey are clear favorites to progress from the group, after which they would face a team from group H which includes the likes of Japan, Belgium, Russia and Tunisia. This means that there is no reason why Turkey shouldn't reach the quarterfinals, after which they would have their work cut out for them, as they will most probably meet Argentina for a spot in the semis.

The team you will see at the World Cup has certainly come a long way. There's no doubting the fact that they are currently one of Europe's top teams, and have proved it by entering the draw for the qualifying stages of Euro 2004 seeded first, ahead of a giant like England. With the confidence that they have, and the support of an entire football-mad nation behind them, there is no team in the world who Turkey cannot beat, so watch out for the surprise of this World Cup!

soccerage
 

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Many of these so called experts consider us the team that will suprise...But if we do make it far, it won't really be considered a suprise after rading numerous articles stating that we will suprise :D

We should be a favourite to make the last 16, or even the last 8. We've got a suprisingly easy group (compared to the others) and if we progress, we play a team from the 2nd weakest group (Russia, Belgium, Japan, someone else) to have a chance to go through to the Quarters...
 
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