Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised the second half efforts of his side, as they came from a goal ...Sun, Jun 11 2017
The Czech Republic fell to a defeat that ultimately cost them a place in the knock-out phase of Euro 2016 as Turkey ran out 2-0 winners in Lens – but that wasn't enough for the Turks either as they too missed out on the last-16.
A win here would have left the Czechs with four points and a third place finish in Group D, enough to see them qualify for the next round. Instead, goals from Burak Yilmaz and Ozan Tufan gave Fatih Terim's men a first win at the tournament. It also gave them a sliver of hope that they themselves might sneak into the last-16 as one of the best third-placed teams.
However, their -2 goal-difference – damage which was mostly done in the lethargic 3-0 defeat to Spain, during which skipper Arda Turan sarcastically applauded his own fans – proved to be their undoing. Northern Ireland and Portugal nipped in ahead of them, despite the latter drawing all three of their group games.
Yilmaz got his side off to an excellent start when he opened the scoring after ten minutes. It was his 21st international goal and moved him to joint-third on Turkey's all-time goalscorer list. At 30, Hakan Sukur's 51 goal tally may be beyond him, but he should surpass Tuncay Sanli (who has 22 goals) to become Turkey's second all-time top scorer.
Yet that strike could, and perhaps should, have been cancelled out in the 16th minute, but Tomas Sivok hit the base of the post with a header. Turkey had been warned about Sivok's aerial prowess when he scored against them in qualifying in Istanbul, but they got off lucky here as a goal then could have changed the entire game.
It really could have been so different for the Czechs, who had the upper-hand coming into the game, with one point in the bag and a seemingly more harmonious environment given the nature of the Turks' capitulation to Spain. Tomas Necid saw a chance go wide after 24 minutes and Jaroslav Plasil forced Volkan Babacan into a save just before half-time.
However, Czech chances were surprisingly limited and it would be the Turks who got the next goal of the game in the 65th minute. Tufan latched onto Mehmet Topal's ball into the box and fired through a crowd of bodies to beat Cech at his near-post. At that point, despite their best efforts, there was no coming back for Pavel Vrba's men.
A particular bright spot for Turkey was the performance of Emre Mor. The 18 year old winger only made his national team debut in May during the build-up to this tournament and was influential in his first international start, creating Yilmaz's opening goal as well as some other chances. He has agreed to join Borussia Dortmund next season and will be one to watch.
Czech Republic: Petr Cech; Pavel Kaderabek, Roman Hubnik, Tomas Sivok, Daniel Pudil; Borek Dockal (Josef Sural, 71), David Pavelka (Milan Skoda, 57), Vladimir Darida, Jaroslav Plasil (Daniel Kolar, 90), Ladislav Krejci; Tomas Necid.
Subs not used: Tomás Koubek (GK), Tomás Vaclík (GK), Michal Kadlec, Theodor Gebre Selassie, Marek Suchy, David Limbersky, Tomas Rosicky, Jirí Skalák, David Lafata.
Bookings: J Plasil (36), D Pavelka (39), Sural (87).
Turkey: Volkan Babacan; Gokhan Gonul, Mehmet Topal, Hakan Balta, Ismahil Koybasi; Emre Mor (Olcay Sahan, 69), Ozan Tufan, Selcuk Inan, Volkan Sen (Oguzhan Ozyakub, 61); Arda Turan; Burak Yilmaz (Cenk Tosun, 90).
Subs Not Used: Onur Kivrak (GK), Harun Tekin (GK), Semih Kaya, Ahmet Calik, Sener Ozbayrakli, Caner Erkin, Yunus Maili, Nuri Sahin, Hakan Calhanoglu.
Bookings: I Koybasi (35), H Balta (50).
Referee: William Collum (SCO).
Extratime Man of the Match: Emre Mor (Turkey).