Turkey Emerge Victorious in Entertaining Showdown

by Ben Ayuko

{image by Getty Images}

Turkey just about managed to get over line and send Austria home while booking themselves a place in the Euro 2024 quarter finals.

Maybe feeling like they had to make up for their captain, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, missing the game through suspension, Turkey came out of the blocks with intent. An early corner, as in barely a minute into the game early, couldn’t be dealt with properly by the Austrian defense leaving a gap open for Merih Demiral to take full advantage and give Turkey the lead inside a minute. The rest of the half was predominantly spent in the Turkey half of the pitch as Austria tried to penetrate their well organised defense.

In the 2nd half, Austria stepped up their efforts as they were able to transition a lot more smoothly on the pitch and knock the ball about for fun. They were playing a very entertaining brand of football with quick, sharp moves and effortless passes aided by their high press to win the ball back quickly and efficiently. It was therefore a bit of a shock when, in the 59min, Merih Demiral rose highest in the Austria penalty box to meet Arda Güler cross and, again, score for Turkey and extend their lead even further. The Austria faithful looked stunned as, truthfully, at the time it was Austria who looked more likely to put the ball in the back of the net. Turkey’s celebrations began early but they didn’t last for long as through a corner of their own, Austria managed to pull one back through Michael Gregoritsch who found himself unmarked at the far post after a flick on from Stefan Posch.

Austria kept huffing and puffing throughout the remainder of the half and with some better finish from the likes of captain, Marko Arnautovic, they could’ve actually drawn level. But they never gave up. Right up until the last kick of the game when Christoph Baumgartner found himself free in the box and nodded a header toward goal only for goalkeeper, Mert Günok, to pull off what is probably the save of the tournament so far to secure the win for Turkey.

2-1 it ended, setting up a quarter final meeting with the Netherlands.

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