Turkey stay alive by eliminating Czechs, flares thrown on pitch

Turkey kept alive their outside hopes of reaching the last 16 at Euro 2016 and eliminated the Czech Republic thanks to a 2-0 win on Tuesday, but flares thrown on to the pitch by their fans could yet have ramifications.

The result, thanks to goals from Burak Yilmaz and Ozan Tufan, also meant Northern Ireland qualified for the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Turkey, whose fans also clashed with each other in the stands, finished third in Group D on three points and must hope the third-placed teams in the final two groups do not match that figure.

The permutations of the expanded tournament are so complex that even governing body UEFA's website was wrong for a time.

"Our only focus was to progress," Turkey coach Fatih Terim told a press conference. "I believe that we will advance, 80–90 per cent.If we advance probably we will play against Wales.

"If we advance we can do what we did in Euro 2008 (reaching the semi-finals) because our confidence is growing now."

Turkey's progression is up in the air but the Czechs are definitely out after finishing bottom of the group on one point, despite having more chances than the Turks in the game.

"In the first half our game wasn't bad, there were situations we could have scored from," said Czech Republic coach Pavel Vrba, who revealed that midfielder Jaroslav Plasil plans to now quit the national side.

"In the second half we didn’t manage to control the ball, we lost the midfield."

Terim made a bold call to hand 18-year-old winger Emre Mor his first start but it paid off as the diminutive new Borussia Dortmund signing burst down the wing to set up Yilmaz for the 10th minute opener.

Yilmaz, whose place was under threat after misfiring so far this tournament, met the pullback first time to expertly guide the ball inside Petr Cech's near post.

The Czech Republic, without injured captain Tomas Rosicky, had the better of the rest of the first half but their finishing was not up to scratch.

Tomas Sivok clipped the woodwork with a header, Tomas Necid poked wide, Pavel Kaderabek went close and Plasil’s stinging effort was saved by Volkan Babacan.

Turkey, who had to win to stand any chance, were annoyed at the referee blowing the half-time whistle just after they had won a corner.

This enabled the Turkey fans to take their anger out on the referee rather than each other after scuffles between around 20 supporters over the use of firecrackers. Stewards managed to sort out the situation after some minutes.

The second half started scrappily and was peppered by some hefty challenges.

Hertha Berlin midfielder Vladimir Darida, playing further forward to fill in for Rosicky, had arguably the best chance for the Czechs but Babacan handled well. Tufan then fired superbly into the top corner on 65 minutes after the Czechs had failed to clear a free-kick, prompting Turkey’s bench to pile onto the pitch in ecstasy.

It also led overly excited fans to hurl flares on to the field in the latest incident of crowd misbehaviour at the tournament.

Turkey were already facing possible UEFA action over previous fan disturbances.

Captain Arda Turan ran over to tell supporters to calm down and will now be hoping UEFA's rulings and the remaining group stage results go Turkey's way.

Last update: Wed, 22/06/2016 - 12:01


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