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18,438 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup is a competition featuring youth teams from Europe and Africa, and is part of the co-operation programme between UEFA and the African football confederation CAF.

Continental competition
Four teams from each continent take part in this competition, which was first staged in Lisbon (Portugal) in 1997. The 1999 competition was held in Cape Town (South Africa) and the 2001 event was played in the Puglia region of southern Italy. Ismailyia (Egypt) will host the competition in January/February 2003.

Meridian Project
The tournament is part of the Meridian Project, a co-operation agreement concluded by the African and European football confederations (CAF and UEFA) in Lisbon, Portugal on 30 January 1997 to promote the exchange of cultures and to offer young footballers a unique learning experience within the framework of a footballing festival. Nigeria were the inaugural winners in 1997, followed by Spain in 1999.

Format change
The competition format changed in 2001 as the four Under-17 representative teams from Africa played four European counterparts to find the winning confederation. On this occasion, Europe triumphed, with Spain recording the best overall performance among the eight competing teams.


:: Cameroon
:: Egypt
:: France
:: Nigeria
:: Portugal
:: Sierra Leone
:: Spain
:: Turkey

Results and standings:

France 3 3 0 0 11 1 9 
Spain 3 3 0 0 8 0 9 
Turkey 3 3 0 0 8 2 9 
Portugal 3 2 1 0 4 1 7 
Egypt 3 0 1 2 2 4 1 
Sierra Leone 3 0 0 3 1 6 0 
Nigeria 3 0 0 3 0 7 0 
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 1 14 0
Cameroon 0 - 7 France
Sierra Leone 0 - 3 Spain
Portugal 1 - 0 Nigeria
Turkey 3 - 2 Egypt
Spain 4 - 0 Cameroon
France 2 - 1 Sierra Leone
Nigeria 0 - 4 Turkey
Egypt 0 - 0 Portugal
Cameroon 1 - 3 Portugal
Sierra Leone 0 - 1 Turkey
France 2 - 0 Nigeria
Spain 1 - 0 Egypt
Turkey 11/02 Cameroon
Portugal 11/02 Sierra Leone
Nigeria 11/02 Spain
Egypt 11/02 France

18,438 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Hosts: Turkey
Turkey finally became a member of Europe's footballing élite in the 1990s when the senior national side qualified for the finals of a UEFA European Championship for the first time. However, the country's fans have long since been regarded as some of the most passionate in the world.

Capital gains
Turkey's three main clubs, Galatasaray SK, Besiktas JK and Fenerbahçe SK, were all founded around 1900 in capital Istanbul and have dominated the country's footballing landscape ever since. Although the sport was initially banned by Sultan Abdülhamid, the last of the rulers of the Ottoman empire, it became increasingly popular in the capital's Jewish and Christian quarters and in foreign schools.

Late developers
By the time the Turkish republic was established by Fenerbahçe fan Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923, local football had become organised, with thriving leagues in Istanbul. However, the spread of the sport was a gradual process, and it was not until 1959 that a professional national league was established.

World Cup qualifications
Turkey had been playing friendly internationals since the republic was created and enjoyed some initial success, triumphing against Baltic and Balkan opposition. The nation qualified for the 1950 FIFA World Cup but then withdrew at the last minute, although they did reach the finals again four years later but failed to progress beyond the group stage.

Trabzonspor threat
Despite that early success, however, Turkey failed to return to the international stage for more than 40 years until reaching EURO 96™. At club level, meanwhile, it was not until the 1970s that Trabzonspor – who were formed in 1967 and won the Turkish league title only nine years later – emerged that there was a genuine threat to the big three teams from Istanbul.

Overseas influence
With Turkish clubs struggling to make an impact in European competition, a number turned to foreign players and coaches. Initially most of the playing imports came from then Yugoslavia and other eastern European countries although coaches were brought in from across the continent. The two most successful were English pair Brian Birch and Gordon Milne; Birch coached Galatasaray to three league titles and a cup win in the early 1970s, while two decades later Milne guided Besiktas to three championships.

Terim impact
The country's most successful homegrown coach was Fatih Terim, who masterminded the national side's return to élite competition in the mid-90s. Terim's team qualified for EURO '96™, although they were unable to win a match or score a goal at the finals in England.

European first
Terim returned to club football following the finals and was replaced by Mustafa Denizli, whose side missed out on 1998 World Cup. However, two years later Galatasaray became the first Turkish team to win a European trophy when they defeated Arsenal FC on penalties in the UEFA Cup final in Copenhagen, and the rise of Turkish football was confirmed soon afterwards when Denizli's side reached the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2000™.

World Cup glory
The country’s finest sporting hour came two years later as, under coach Senol Günes, Turkey finished third in the World Cup in Korea/Japan. Having finished second behind Brazil in Group D, Turkey then defeated co-hosts Japan and Senegal to reach the last four only to again lose narrowly to Brazil, Ronaldo getting the only goal.

Turkey third
There was some consolation, however, as co-hosts South Korea were overcome 3-2 in the third/fourth-placed play-off, with Hakan Sükür striking after eleven seconds for the fastest goal in World Cup finals history. A new force had emerged on to the world stage.

*the drum drum*
42,913 Posts
Wow, talk about lop-sided results..

Only Egypt of the African nations has managed to salvage anything..
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