Before Friday, Turkey had lost just once in their last 13 matches. The Crescent Stars had become one of the most-fancied teams ahead of the start of Euro 2020. However, everyone must have been left revising their notes following Turkey's disappointing performance on the opening day of the tournament against Italy.
Senol Gunes’ side simply did not come to play. Despite boasting some very good players, the coach set up his side to just defend. His tactics managed to sustain the team through the first half. However, it was only a matter of time before Italy made the breakthrough. Once they did, it opened the floodgates for a 3-0 thumping.
Turkey fail to rise to the occasion
The fact that Turkey were being mentioned as dark horses to win Euro 2020 is evidence that they’ve been one of the best teams in Europe in recent years. Over the last 24 months, in particular, the Crescent Stars have chalked some impressive results in the Euro and World Cup qualifiers.
This is a team that has beaten Norway, the Netherlands and Russia, and also held Germany, Serbia and Croatia to draws in the last 12 months. These impressive results raised expectations ahead of their game against Italy, but Turkey flattered to deceive. They were largely second-best and rarely threatened Italy in 90 minutes.
Turkey have waited for such an opportunity for so long but they failed to rise to the occasion.
Turkey going nowhere with such a lethargic performance
For a team that possesses great talents like Merih Demiral, Caglar Soyuncu, Hakan Calhanoglu and Burak Yilmaz, Turkey should be doing better than they did against Italy.
Their game plan against the Azzurri restricted their attacking players and Turkey were made to pay for their overly cautious approach.
“It was not our day. We started to lose the ball and couldn't get forward. Italy were better – we lost to the better team,” Turkey coach Gunes admitted, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“They were more dominant than us. We lost the ball so many times and this just gave the advantage to our opponent. After we conceded the first goal, we just really got distracted and lost control of the game," added Gunes.
Turkey boasts a very good side that are capable of making it out of the group stages. However, they certainly won’t go far if they repeat such lethargic performances in their next two group games.