Turkey national football team
|Nickname(s)||Ay-Yıldızlılar (The Crescent-Stars)|
|Association||Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu (TFF)|
|Head coach||Mircea Lucescu|
|Most caps||Rüştü Reçber (120)|
|Top scorer||Hakan Şükür (51)|
|Current||38 (25 October 2018)|
|Highest||5 (June 2004)|
|Lowest||67 (October 1993)|
|Current||43 4 (17 November 2018)|
|Highest||10 (16 October 2002, November 2002)|
|Lowest||72 (13 November 1985, 29 October 1986)|
| Turkey 2–2 Romania |
(Istanbul, Turkey; 26 October 1923)
| Turkey 7–0 Syria |
(Ankara, Turkey; 20 November 1949)
Turkey 7–0 South Korea
(Geneva, Switzerland; 20 June 1954)
Turkey 7–0 San Marino
(Istanbul, Turkey; 10 November 1996)
| Poland 8–0 Turkey |
(Chorzów, Poland; 24 April 1968)
Turkey 0–8 England
(Istanbul, Turkey; 14 November 1984)
England 8–0 Turkey
(London, England; 14 October 1987)
|Appearances||2 (first in 1954)|
|Best result||Third place, 2002|
|Appearances||4 (first in 1996)|
|Best result||Semi-finals, 2008|
|Appearances||1 (first in 2003)|
|Best result||Third place, 2003|
The Turkey national football team (Turkish: Türkiye Millî Futbol Takımı) represents Turkey in association football and is controlled by the Turkish Football Federation, the governing body for football in Turkey. They are affiliated with UEFA.
Turkey has qualified three times for the FIFA World Cup, in 1950, 1954, and 2002, although they withdrew from the 1950 event. Turkey has also qualified four times for the UEFA European Championship, in 1996, 2000, 2008, and 2016. They have reached the semi-finals of three major tournaments: the 2002 World Cup, the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, and Euro 2008. After their third-place finish at the 2002 World Cup, which marked a high point in Turkish football history, Turkey occupied a spot in the top ten of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time since the rankings were introduced in December 1992.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early years
- 1.2 1950 FIFA World Cup
- 1.3 1954 FIFA World Cup
- 1.4 Near misses
- 1.5 1990–1996
- 1.6 Euro 1996
- 1.7 Euro 2000
- 1.8 2002 FIFA World Cup
- 1.9 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup
- 1.10 Euro 2004
- 1.11 2006 FIFA World Cup
- 1.12 Euro 2008
- 1.13 2010 FIFA World Cup
- 1.14 Euro 2012
- 1.15 2014 FIFA World Cup
- 1.16 Euro 2016
- 1.17 2018 FIFA World Cup
- 2 Fixtures and results
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Players
- 5 Previous squads
- 6 Rivalries
- 7 Competitive record
- 8 Honours
- 9 Total results by opponent
- 10 Player history
- 11 Past managers
- 12 Decoration
- 13 Gallery
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The Turkey national team played their first ever match against Romania in 1923, drawing 2–2. Zeki Rıza Sporel is considered as the first big star of Turkish football as he scored the first two goals against Romania. Turkey played their first ever official match at the 1924 Summer Olympics losing 5–2 to Czechoslovakia.
1950 FIFA World Cup
1954 FIFA World Cup
Turkey then qualified for the 1954 World Cup after a play-off with Spain. The Turkish team first lost 4–1 to Spain, but a 1–0 win a few days later initiated a replay. On that occasion, they tied 2–2 after, booking their place after a coin toss. Turkey was put in a group along with Hungary and West Germany. The Turks, however, never played Hungary due to the tournament format, and a 4–1 defeat by the Germans was followed by Turkey carrying out a 7–0 win over South Korea. Turkey lost the play-off to West Germany 7–2. In 1956, however, Turkey did play Hungary in a friendly match in Istanbul, defeating what was one of the strongest teams of the era, 3–1. Lefter Küçükandonyadis, arguably one of the best Turkish players of all-time, scored two goals during the tournament.
Despite the introduction of a national league, and showings by Turkish clubs in European competition, the 1960s would be a barren time for the national team. Most players from the 1954 World Cup squad were retired, and the new generation of players failed to qualify for a major tournament. The 1970s saw Turkey holding back in the World Cup and UEFA European Championship qualifiers, but the team was a point too short to qualify for both UEFA Euro 1972 and Euro 1976. In the 1980s the Turkish team also suffered their worst defeats with 8–0 scorelines against Poland and twice against England. Yet the 1990 World Cup qualifiers would mark a turning point for Turkish football, with Turkey only missing out on qualification in the final match. Prominent players in this period included Rıdvan Dilmen, Oğuz Çetin, Rıza Çalımbay, Feyyaz Uçar, and European Golden Boot winner Tanju Çolak.
In 1990, German coach Sepp Piontek was put in charge of the national team. Under his guidance, a group of new players debuted for the national team. Many of these players (which included Bülent Korkmaz, Alpay Özalan, Sergen Yalçın, Rüştü Reçber, and Hakan Şükür) would become the backbone of the national team for many years. Piontek's mission came to an end in 1993, where he was replaced by Fatih Terim, who in turn managed to qualify for Euro 1996. Turkey qualified for its first major tournament since 1954, marking another turning point for Turkish football after having failed to qualify for both Euro 1992 and the 1994 World Cup. The appointment of Piontek was a recommended move by another German coach, Jupp Derwall, who had coached Galatasaray for three seasons. Derwall is regarded as the revolutionizer of Turkish football, since his introduction of modern Western European training techniques and tactical ideas to the Turkish game also heavily influenced the national team.
Turkey qualified for Euro 1996, defeating both Switzerland and Sweden 2–1 en route during qualification. Despite a solid performance during the qualifiers, Turkey lost all their matches without scoring a single goal. They did, however, go home with an award: the fair-play award, given to Alpay Özalan.
Although Turkey failed to qualify for the 1998 World Cup, they qualified for Euro 2000 after winning a play-off against the Republic of Ireland. Turkey lost their first match 2–1 to Italy, they drew their second match against Sweden 0–0, and beat host nation Belgium 2–0, making it the first time in the history of the UEFA European Championship a host nation had been eliminated in the first round. This victory brought Turkey into the last eight of the tournament, where they were beaten 2–0 by Portugal, with Arif Erdem missing a critical penalty.
2002 FIFA World Cup
For the 2002 World Cup, Turkey finished second in their qualifying group, despite starting well and being the favourites to top the group. They lost 2–1 to Sweden in the crucial match that would decide the top spot. The Turks were forced to play the play-offs against Austria. They defeated the Austrians 6–0 on aggregate and booked their place at the finals. The Turkish team started the 2002 World Cup with a 2–1 defeat against eventual winners Brazil. Turkey qualified from the group stage with a 3–0 win against China PR after drawing 1–1 with Costa Rica.
Turkey then faced home team Japan in the second round, winning 1–0. The Turkish team continued their run, as they beat Senegal 1–0 on a golden goal to book their place in the semi-finals, where a 1–0 defeat against eventual tournament winners Brazil forced them to play the third place match, and a bronze medal was won after a 3–2 victory over co-hosts South Korea. Hakan Şükür scored Turkey's first goal in 10.8 seconds, even when the South Koreans kicked off first. It was the fastest goal in World Cup history. Tens of thousands of flag-waving Turkish fans greeted the World Cup squad on their return to Istanbul, where they joined a massive street party at Taksim Square. Rüştü Reçber, Alpay Özalan and Hasan Şaş were all included in the All-Star Team, with Reçber also being voted as the best goalkeeper in the UEFA Team of the Year 2002, while Şenol Güneş was being voted as the best manager.
2003 FIFA Confederations Cup
In the summer of 2003, Turkey reached third place at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. In the group stages, Turkey defeated the United States 2–1 before losing to Cameroon 0–1. In their final group match, Turkey drew 2–2 against Brazil, eliminating them from the tournament. Turkey lost to eventual tournament winners France 3–2 in the semi-final match. Turkey then defeated Colombia 2–1 to win the bronze medal. Tuncay Şanlı scored three goals and made an assist, which won him the Silver Shoe Award and the Silver Ball Award for the second best player of the tournament.
The Turkish team failed to qualify for Euro 2004 on play-offs due to a loss to Latvia after finishing second in their group. This marked a turning point for the national team as new players were introduced to the national team to create a new generation.
2006 FIFA World Cup
The Turkish team once again narrowly missed out on the World Cup finals after failing to win a play-off, this time on away goals against Switzerland, again after finishing second in their group. There were scenes of violence after the game on and off the pitch where the Turkish team brawled with Swiss players down the tunnel.
Turkey qualified for their first international tournament in six years by finishing second behind Greece in Euro 2008 qualifying Group C to reach the Euro 2008 final stages. They were placed alongside Switzerland, Portugal and the Czech Republic in Group A. In their first match, they played Portugal and were beaten 2–0, but wins over Switzerland (2–1) and the Czech Republic (3–2) – both secured by late goals – brought qualification for the knockout stages. Again, Turkey knocked out a host nation – Switzerland – in the group stages for the second time.
The quarter-final against Croatia was goalless after 90 minutes, and Croatia led 1–0 in the final minute of extra time, but another late Turkish goal by forward Semih Şentürk brought the game to penalties. The goal raised some controversy with Croatia fans and Croatia head coach Slaven Bilić, who claimed that the goal had been scored after extra time had elapsed. This complaint, however, was overruled, and the game went into penalties. Turkey defeated Croatia in penalties, 3–1.
Turkey went into the semi-final against Germany with just 14 outfield players available as a result of injuries and suspensions, but scored first and were drawing 2–2. But they finished third by default after losing 3–2 with a last minute goal by Philipp Lahm. Both Russia and Turkey were given bronze medals in the dressing rooms after the semi-finals.
2010 FIFA World Cup
For the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Turkey had a mixed qualifying campaign, finishing with 15 points and missing out on a play-off place to Bosnia and Herzegovina with 19 points. Spain topped the group to qualify, winning every game in the process. Coach Fatih Terim announced he would be resigning his post following their failure to qualify.
Turkey were drawn in Group A in qualification for Euro 2012, together with Kazakhstan, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Azerbaijan. The Turkish team reached the play-offs after beating Azerbaijan 1–0 but got eliminated 3–0 on aggregate by Croatia. On 14 November 2012, Turkey celebrated their 500th match in a friendly game played against Denmark at the Türk Telekom Arena, Istanbul, which ended in a 1–1 draw. Before the match, footballers and coaches, who contributed to the national team's success in the past, were honoured. Turkish pop singer Hadise, who wore a national team jersey with the number 500, performed a small concert.
2014 FIFA World Cup
Turkey were drawn in Group D in qualification for the 2014 World Cup, together with Andorra, Estonia, Hungary, the Netherlands and Romania, finishing fourth. Turkey began to lose critical points during qualification and Abdullah Avcı was sacked soon after. Fatih Terim was put in charge for the third time to lead the national team, but a 2–0 defeat against the Netherlands ended hopes of qualification.
Turkey were drawn in Group A in the qualification campaign for the Euro 2016, together with Iceland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The Turkish team qualified for their first major tournament in eight years as the best third-placed team after beating Iceland 1–0, with Selçuk İnan netting a free kick in the 89th minute. After over 18 months unbeaten, a loss to England as a pre-tournament friendly ended the team's winning streak, subsequently leading to back-to-back losses against Croatia and Spain in the tournament. Turkey won their last game against the Czech Republic, 2–0. They were minutes away from reaching the last 16, until a late winner for Ireland against Italy meant that the latter instead qualified as one of the best third-placed teams. Despite elimination, youngster Emre Mor's skillful display and assist during the game revealed a hopeful future for Turkish football.
2018 FIFA World Cup
Turkey were drawn in UEFA Group I for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. During the qualifiers, head coach Fatih Terim stood down after an off-field incident, and 72-year-old former Romania manager Mircea Lucescu took over. After eight games, Turkey stood a strong chance of qualifying for the tournament, but a 0–3 defeat against Iceland at home ended automatic qualification hopes. After a 2–2 draw against Finland the team finished fourth in Group I.
Fixtures and results
|2 September 2018 FIFA WC Q||Ukraine||2–0||Turkey||Kharkiv, Ukraine|
|Yarmolenko 18', 42'||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Metalist Stadium|
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (Spain)
|5 September 2018 FIFA WC Q||Turkey||1–0||Croatia||Eskişehir, Turkey|
|Tosun 75'||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: New Eskişehir Stadium|
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
|6 October 2018 FIFA WC Q||Turkey||0–3||Iceland||Eskişehir, Turkey|
|Stadium: New Eskişehir Stadium|
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
|9 October 2018 FIFA WC Q||Finland||2–2||Turkey||Turku, Finland|
|Tosun 57', 83'||Stadium: Veritas Stadion|
Referee: Benoît Bastien (France)
|9 November Friendly||Romania||2–0||Turkey||Cluj-Napoca, Romania|
|21:15 (UTC+3)||Grozav 42' 69'||Report||Stadium: Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu|
Referee: Tiago Martins (Portugal)
|13 November Friendly||Turkey||2–3||Albania||Antalya, Turkey|
|20:30 (UTC+3)||Report||Stadium: New Antalya Stadium|
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bulgaria)
|23 March Friendly||Turkey||1–0||Republic of Ireland||Antalya, Turkey|
|18:30 (UTC+2)||Topal 52'||Report||Stadium: Antalya Arena|
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (Slovenia)
|27 March Friendly||Montenegro||2–2||Turkey||Podgorica, Montenegro|
|19:10 (UTC+2)||Ivanić 45'
|Stadium: Podgorica City Stadium|
Referee: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)
|28 May Friendly||Turkey||2–1||Iran||Istanbul, Turkey|
|21:15 (UTC+3)||Tosun 6', 50'||Report||Dejagah 90+2' (pen.)||Stadium: Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium|
Referee: Valentin Kovalenko (Uzbekistan)
|1 June Friendly||Tunisia||2–2||Turkey||Geneva, Switzerland|
|20:15 (UTC+2)||Badri 56'
|Report||Tosun 54' (pen.)
|Stadium: Stade de Genève|
Referee: Fedayi San (Switzerland)
|5 June Friendly||Russia||1–1||Turkey||Moscow, Russia|
|19:00 (UTC+3)||Samedov 35'||Report||Mallı 59'||Stadium: VEB Arena|
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (Romania)
|7 September 2018–19 UEFA Nations League||Turkey||1–2||Russia||Trabzon, Turkey|
|Aziz 41'||Report||Cheryshev 13'
|Stadium: Şenol Güneş Stadium|
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (Portugal)
|10 September 2018–19 UEFA Nations League||Sweden||2–3||Turkey||Solna, Sweden|
|Kiese Thelin 35'
Akbaba 88', 90+2'
|Stadium: Friends Arena|
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (Spain)
|11 October Friendly||Turkey||0–0||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Rize, Turkey|
|20:30 (UTC+3)||Report||Stadium: Yeni Rize Şehir Stadium|
Referee: Sergei Karasev (Russia)
|14 October 2018–19 UEFA Nations League||Russia||2–0||Turkey||Sochi, Russia|
|Report||Stadium: Fisht Olympic Stadium|
Referee: Paweł Raczkowski (Poland)
|17 November 2018–19 UEFA Nations League||Turkey||0–1||Sweden||Konya, Turkey|
|Report||Granqvist 71' (pen.)||Stadium: Konya Büyükşehir Stadium|
Referee: István Kovács (Romania)
Current technical staff
|Head coach||Mircea Lucescu|
|Assistant coach(es)|| Kerem Yavaş|
|Fitness coach||Mike Verhoeven|
|Goalkeeping coach||Eren Aytekin|
The following players have been called up for the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League match against Sweden and the Friendly match against Ukraine on 17 and 20 November 2018.
Caps and goals updated as of 14 October 2018 after the match against Russia.
The following players have been called up for the team within the last 12 months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Gökhan Akkan||1 January 1995||0||0||Çaykur Rizespor||v. Russia, 14 October 2018|
|GK||Harun Tekin||17 June 1989||2||0||Fenerbahçe||v. Russia, 5 June 2018|
|GK||Volkan Babacan INJ||11 August 1988||35||0||İstanbul Başakşehir||v. Iran, 28 May 2018|
|DF||Şener Özbayraklı||23 January 1990||19||0||Fenerbahçe||v. Russia, 14 October 2018|
|DF||Uğur Demirok||8 July 1988||3||0||Trabzonspor||v. Montenegro, 27 March 2018|
|DF||Ömer Toprak PRE||21 July 1989||27||2||Borussia Dortmund||v. Republic of Ireland, 23 March 2018|
|MF||Yusuf Yazıcı||29 January 1997||9||0||Trabzonspor||v. Russia, 14 October 2018|
|MF||Berkay Özcan||15 February 1998||3||0||VfB Stuttgart||v. Russia, 14 October 2018|
|MF||Emre Akbaba INJ||4 October 1992||6||3||Galatasaray||v. Sweden, 10 September 2018|
|MF||Abdülkadir Ömür||25 June 1999||0||0||Trabzonspor||v. Sweden, 10 September 2018|
|MF||İrfan Kahveci||15 June 1995||4||0||İstanbul Başakşehir||v. Russia, 5 June 2018|
|MF||Deniz Türüç||29 January 1993||2||0||Kayserispor||v. Russia, 5 June 2018|
|MF||Alper Potuk||8 April 1991||17||1||Fenerbahçe||v. Montenegro, 27 March 2018|
|MF||Selçuk İnan||10 February 1985||61||8||Galatasaray||v. Republic of Ireland, 23 March 2018|
|FW||Umut Bulut||15 March 1983||39||10||Kayserispor||v. Russia, 5 June 2018|
|FW||Emre Mor PRE||24 July 1997||15||1||Celta||v. Republic of Ireland, 23 March 2018|
- PRE = Preliminary squad.
- RET = Retired from international football.
- WD = Withdrew from the squad.
- INJ = Withdrew due to an injury.
Turkey and Croatia have played each other 9 times, with their first encounter at Euro 1996; where both countries made their debuts in the opening match, which Croatia won 1–0. A well-remembered match between them was at Euro 2008, which Turkey won on penalties after a 1–1 deadlock even after extra-time. With the win, Turkey reached the semi-finals in only their third appearance overall at the Euro finals. The two teams faced each other in the 2012 Euro qualifying play-offs, with Croatia winning 3–0 in the first-leg in Istanbul, and advancing to the tournament finals following a 0–0 draw in the second-leg. The two teams faced each other once again in a European competition at Euro 2016, playing in the opening match of Group D; with Croatia winning 1–0 through a sensational Luka Modrić volley. Only three months after the match at the Euros, the two teams played in their opening match in Group I of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which finished 1–1. Exactly one year after this, Turkey won the reverse fixture 1–0 at home, which played a key part in both countries' qualifying campaign.
Turkey also has a historical rivalry with Greece; having played them a total of 13 times, winning seven, drawing three and losing three games. Both countries have been described as "punching above their weight"; with Greece winning Euro 2004 despite being classified as underdogs prior to the competition, and Turkey advancing to the semi-finals of Euro 2008, where they were knocked out by Germany. Due to tension between the two countries and the dispute over Cyprus, coupled with several incidents occurring during matches between Turkish and Greek clubs, it has been described as one of the biggest international football rivalries.
Turkey also have a strong rivalry with Armenia, notably when the two teams faced each other in the 2010 World Cup qualifying; several problems and political issues arose prior to the match build-up, particularly as Ankara and Yerevan had not established diplomatic relations since Armenia's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, as well as due to the fact that the border between the two countries has been "firmly shut" for more than a decade-and-a-half, as well as historical issues, particularly considering the Armenian genocide of the late 1910s. Prior to the match, Abdullah Gül, the President of Turkey, was invited by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to the match. Gül accepted the invitation, and 5,000 Turkish supporters were allowed to travel to the stadium to watch the game, although the build-up to the match was tense. Several protesters lined the route of Gül's motorcade, but the match ended peacefully, with Turkey winning 2–0. Foreign ministers from the two countries signed an agreement; opening up a path towards full diplomatic relations.
FIFA World Cup
|FIFA World Cup record||FIFA World Cup qualification record|
|1930||Did not enter||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|1938||Did not enter||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|1950||Qualified but withdrew||1||1||0||0||7||0|
|1962||Did not qualify||4||2||0||2||4||4|
|2006||Did not qualify||14||7||5||2||27||13|
|2022||To be determined|
UEFA European Championship
|UEFA European Championship record||UEFA European Championship qualifying record|
|1960||Did not qualify||2||1||0||1||2||3|
|2004||Did not qualify||10||6||2||2||19||8|
|2012||Did not qualify||12||5||3||4||13||14|
|2020||To be determined||To be determined|
- *Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shoot-out.
|Olympic Games record|
|1964||Did not qualify|
|1988||Did not qualify|
FIFA Confederations Cup
|FIFA Confederations Cup record|
|1992||Did not qualify|
|2005||Did not qualify|
Mediterranean Games record
|Football at the Mediterranean Games|
|1991 – present||See Turkey national under-20 team|
Third place (1): 2002
Third place (1): 2003
Semi-finals (1): 2008
Total results by opponent
The following table shows Turkey's all-time international record, correct as of 5 September 2018.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||5||2||1||2||6||7|
|Republic of Ireland||14||3||6||5||16||27|
Most capped players
Players in bold are still active, at least at club level. As of June 1, 2018.
Goalscorers with an equal number of goals are ranked in chronological order of reaching the milestone. Bold indicates still active players. As of October 9, 2017.
|9||Zeki Rıza Sporel||1923–1932|
|Manager||Career Start||Career End||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||GF||GA||Win %|
|Ali Sami Yen||26/10/1923||26/10/1923||1||0||1||0||2||2||00.0|
In 2002, the national team was honored with the Turkish "State Medal of Distinguished Service" for its third place achievement at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. All the team members, coaches and officials were bestowed by a medal.
Arda Turan is one of the longest serving captains of the national team.
Nuri Şahin was for a long period the youngest debutant of the national team.
Selçuk İnan scored the 700th goal in the history of the national team.
Fatih Terim is the most successful manager in the history of the national team.
Sepp Piontek managed the national team between 1990 and 1993.
Nihat Bekdik represented Turkey on 21 occasions, captaining them 10 times.
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- Fastest Goals in WC History
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