Sports

Leicester City player: Turkey merit place in EURO 2020

Leicester's Turkish defender Soyuncu says Turkey focus on next two matches to win EURO 2020 quals

Emre Asikci and Can Erozden   | 01.11.2019
Leicester City player: Turkey merit place in EURO 2020 Caglar Soyuncu, Turkey's national football team defender

ANKARA 

Turkey's National Football Team deserves to play in the upcoming European top-tier international tournament, the EURO 2020, Leicester City's defender Caglar Soyuncu said on Friday.

"Turkey will do their best [to win the qualifying group], I hope we will finish atop of the group," said Soyuncu, who spoke to European football's governing body UEFA.

The 23-year-old Turkish central defender praised his team's performance in the EURO 2020 qualifiers in the group stage.

After eight matches in the Group H, Turkey remained on top with 19 points. The 2018 FIFA World Cup champions France were in the second spot as "Les Bleus" (The Blues) earned 19 points as well.

One of the tough teams in this group, Iceland came third with 15 points. Iceland are followed by Albania with 12 points.

The two underdogs, Andorra and Moldova have three points each.

Turkey have two more matches to end the Group H as they are set to host Iceland on Nov. 14 in Istanbul.

According to the regulations, group winners and runners-up from 10 qualifying groups will be in the EURO 2020 finals.

The remaining four teams will come through playoffs.

"Turkey will play to win the match against Iceland on Nov. 14. Nobody should doubt that we will do our best to win this match. We have a powerful team. We want to win the Group H and have been working on this. We never imagined a negative scenario," Soyuncu said.

The Turkish international said he watched Turkey on television when the team was competing in EURO 2008 co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland when he was 12 years old.

Referring to Turkey's success in EURO 2008, Soyuncu said it was a very special and important tournament for Turkey.

Soyuncu underlined that they aimed to retain their success in EURO 2020 as Turkey made the semifinals in the EURO 2008 but were eliminated by European football powerhouse Germany 3-2 in the final four stage.

In that tournament, Turkey were known for their perseverance, beating host nation Switzerland and the Czech Republic in Group A.

Having bagged the last eight ticket, Turkey knocked Croatia out of the EURO 2008 in the quarterfinals in the penalty kicks in Vienna, but Turkish fairy tale ended in the semis.

Soyuncu emphasized that taking part in EURO 2020 is important for Turks living in Europe.

"Joining EURO 2020 means everything to Turks in Europe," he said, adding that Turkey vowed to do their best in this competition to honor the whole country.

Turkey's Euro journeys in history

Turkey's maiden Euro tournament was the EURO 96, when they got eliminated in the group phase in England.

They then qualified for the EURO 2000, where Portugal eliminated Turkey in the last eight.

Turkey missed EURO 2004 in Portugal, but reached semifinals in EURO 2008.

They did not qualify for EURO 2012 co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

The last Euro tournament in which Turkey played was the EURO 2016, but the Turkish team made an early exit, failing to reach the knockout stages in France.

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