Turkey national football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Ay-Yıldızlılar (The Crescent-Stars)[1]
Association Turkish Football Federation (Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu – TFF)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Fatih Terim
Captain Mehmet Topal
Most caps Rüştü Reçber (120)
Top scorer Hakan Şükür (51)
FIFA code TUR[2]
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 33 Decrease 8 (6 July 2017)
Highest 5 (June 2004)
Lowest 67 (October 1993)
Elo ranking
Current 20 Steady (30 April 2017)
Highest 9 (November 2002)
Lowest 82 (November 1985)
First international
 Turkey 2–2 Romania 
(Istanbul, Turkey; 26 October 1923)[3]
Biggest win
 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)
Biggest defeat
 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)
World Cup
Appearances 2 (first in 1954)
Best result Third place, 2002
European Championship
Appearances 4 (first in 1996)
Best result Semi-finals, 2008
Confederations Cup
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.[4]


Turkey against Romania in 1923.

Early years[edit]

The Turkey national team played their first ever match against Romania in 1923, drawing 2–2.[5] 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[edit]

Although Turkey qualified for the 1950 World Cup, beating Syria 7–0, they had to withdraw due to financial problems.

1954 FIFA World Cup[edit]

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.[6] Lefter Küçükandonyadis, arguably one of the best Turkish players of all-time, scored two goals during the tournament.

Near misses[edit]

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.

Euro 1996[edit]

Turkey national football team on an Azerbaijan stamp for Euro 1996.

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.

Euro 2000[edit]

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[edit]

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.[7] Turkey qualified from the group stage with a 3–0 win against China PR after drawing 1–1 with Costa Rica.[8][9]

Turkey then faced home team Japan in the second round, winning 1–0.[10] 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.[11][12][13] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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[edit]

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.

Euro 2004[edit]

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[edit]

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 against France on 5 June 2009.

Euro 2008[edit]

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.[16][17][18] Again, Turkey knocked out a host nation – Switzerland – in the group stages for the second time.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21] Both Russia and Turkey were given bronze medals in the dressing rooms after the semi-finals.

2010 FIFA World Cup[edit]

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.[22]

Euro 2012[edit]

The Turkish team during the UEFA Euro 2012 qualification.

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.

Turkey against Austria on 29 March 2016.

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.[23][24]

2014 FIFA World Cup[edit]

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 0–2 defeat against the Netherlands ended hopes of qualification.

Euro 2016[edit]

Turkey were drawn in Group A in qualification for 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, but this victory was not enough to reach the knockout phase. Despite elimination, youngster Emre Mor's skillful display and assist during the game revealed a hopeful future for Turkish football.

Fixtures and results[edit]



Coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Head coach Turkey Fatih Terim
Assistant coach(es) Turkey Nedim Yiğit
Turkey Kerem Yavaş
Fitness coach United States Mike Verhoeven
Goalkeeping coach Turkey Eren Aytekin
National team manager Turkey Mustafa Eröğüt
Doctor Turkey Sarper Çetinkaya


Current squad[edit]

The following players were called up for the friendly match against Macedonia on 5 June 2017 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification game against Kosovo on 11 June 2017.[28]
Caps and goals updated as 5 June 2017 after the match against Macedonia.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Volkan Babacan (1988-08-11) 11 August 1988 (age 28) 27 0 Turkey İstanbul Başakşehir
23 1GK Harun Tekin (1989-06-17) 17 June 1989 (age 28) 1 0 Turkey Bursaspor
12 1GK Berke Özer (2000-05-25) 25 May 2000 (age 17) 0 0 Turkey Altınordu

7 2DF Gökhan Gönül (1985-01-04) 4 January 1985 (age 32) 62 1 Turkey Beşiktaş
2DF Caner Erkin (1988-10-04) 4 October 1988 (age 28) 51 2 Turkey Beşiktaş
2 2DF Semih Kaya (1991-02-24) 24 February 1991 (age 26) 23 0 Czech Republic Sparta Prague
3 2DF İsmail Köybaşı (1989-07-10) 10 July 1989 (age 28) 24 0 Turkey Fenerbahçe
13 2DF Hasan Ali Kaldırım (1989-12-09) 9 December 1989 (age 27) 19 0 Turkey Fenerbahçe
2DF Şener Özbayraklı (1990-01-23) 23 January 1990 (age 27) 13 0 Turkey Fenerbahçe
2DF Ahmet Yılmaz Çalık (1994-02-26) 26 February 1994 (age 23) 8 1 Turkey Galatasaray
2DF Kaan Ayhan (1994-11-10) 10 November 1994 (age 22) 6 0 Germany Fortuna Düsseldorf
22 2DF Çağlar Söyüncü (1996-05-23) 23 May 1996 (age 21) 4 0 Germany SC Freiburg

15 3MF Mehmet Topal (1986-03-03) 3 March 1986 (age 31) 68 1 Turkey Fenerbahçe
8 3MF Selçuk İnan (1985-02-10) 10 February 1985 (age 32) 58 8 Turkey Galatasaray
6 3MF Ozan Tufan (1995-03-23) 23 March 1995 (age 22) 32 3 Turkey Fenerbahçe
11 3MF Olcay Şahan (1987-05-26) 26 May 1987 (age 30) 29 2 Turkey Trabzonspor
14 3MF Oğuzhan Özyakup (1992-09-23) 23 September 1992 (age 24) 25 1 Turkey Beşiktaş
21 3MF Emre Mor (1997-07-24) 24 July 1997 (age 19) 11 1 Germany Borussia Dortmund
5 3MF Emre Çolak (1991-05-20) 20 May 1991 (age 26) 4 0 Spain Deportivo La Coruña
18 3MF Cengiz Ünder (1997-07-14) 14 July 1997 (age 20) 3 1 Italy Roma
3MF Deniz Türüç (1993-01-29) 29 January 1993 (age 24) 1 0 Turkey Kayserispor
3MF Emre Akbaba (1992-10-04) 4 October 1992 (age 24) 0 0 Turkey Alanyaspor
10 3MF Yusuf Yazıcı (1997-01-20) 20 January 1997 (age 20) 0 0 Turkey Trabzonspor

17 4FW Burak Yılmaz (1985-07-15) 15 July 1985 (age 32) 49 22 China Beijing Guoan
9 4FW Cenk Tosun (1991-06-07) 7 June 1991 (age 26) 19 5 Turkey Beşiktaş
19 4FW Yunus Mallı (1992-02-24) 24 February 1992 (age 25) 12 0 Germany VfL Wolfsburg
16 4FW Enes Ünal (1997-05-10) 10 May 1997 (age 20) 6 0 Spain Villarreal

Recent call-ups[edit]

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 Onur Kıvrak (1988-01-01) 1 January 1988 (age 29) 13 0 Turkey Trabzonspor v.  Moldova, 27 March 2017
GK Ali Şaşal Vural (1990-07-10) 10 July 1990 (age 27) 0 0 Turkey Eskişehirspor UEFA Euro 2016 PRE

DF Ömer Toprak (1989-07-21) 21 July 1989 (age 28) 26 2 Germany Borussia Dortmund v.  Moldova, 27 March 2017
DF Yalçın Ayhan (1982-05-01) 1 May 1982 (age 35) 0 0 Turkey İstanbul Başakşehir v.  Kosovo, 13 November 2016
DF Hakan Balta (1983-03-23) 23 March 1983 (age 34) 50 2 Turkey Galatasaray v.  Iceland, 9 October 2016
DF Serdar Aziz (1990-10-23) 23 October 1990 (age 26) 11 1 Turkey Galatasaray v.  Croatia, 5 September 2016
DF Ahmet Oğuz (1993-01-16) 16 January 1993 (age 24) 0 0 Turkey Gençlerbirliği v.  Croatia, 5 September 2016

MF Arda TuranRET (1987-01-30) 30 January 1987 (age 30) 97 17 Spain Barcelona v.  Macedonia, 5 June 2017WD
MF Volkan ŞenINJ (1987-07-07) 7 July 1987 (age 30) 25 1 Turkey Fenerbahçe v.  Macedonia, 5 June 2017
MF Serdar GürlerINJ (1991-09-14) 14 September 1991 (age 25) 1 0 Turkey Gençlerbirliği v.  Macedonia, 5 June 2017
MF Okay Yokuşlu (1994-03-09) 9 March 1994 (age 23) 5 0 Turkey Trabzonspor v.  Moldova, 27 March 2017
MF Güray Vural (1988-06-11) 11 June 1988 (age 29) 1 0 Turkey Kayserispor v.  Moldova, 27 March 2017
MF Hakan Çalhanoğlu (1994-02-08) 8 February 1994 (age 23) 26 8 Italy Milan v.  Kosovo, 13 November 2016
MF Tolga Ciğerci (1992-03-23) 23 March 1992 (age 25) 2 0 Turkey Galatasaray v.  Kosovo, 13 November 2016
MF Bilal Başaçıkoğlu (1995-03-26) 26 March 1995 (age 22) 0 0 Netherlands Feyenoord v.  Kosovo, 13 November 2016
MF Yasin Öztekin (1987-03-19) 19 March 1987 (age 30) 6 0 Turkey Galatasaray v.  Iceland, 9 October 2016
MF Nuri Şahin (1988-09-05) 5 September 1988 (age 28) 50 2 Germany Borussia Dortmund v.  Croatia, 5 September 2016
MF Gökhan Töre (1992-01-20) 20 January 1992 (age 25) 26 0 Turkey Beşiktaş v.  Croatia, 5 September 2016
MF Alper Potuk (1991-04-08) 8 April 1991 (age 26) 15 0 Turkey Fenerbahçe UEFA Euro 2016 PRE
MF Mahmut Tekdemir (1988-01-20) 20 January 1988 (age 29) 3 0 Turkey İstanbul Başakşehir UEFA Euro 2016 PRE

FW Mehmet Batdal (1986-02-24) 24 February 1986 (age 31) 0 0 Turkey İstanbul Başakşehir v.  Kosovo, 13 November 2016
FW Mevlüt Erdinç (1987-02-25) 25 February 1987 (age 30) 35 8 France Metz v.  Iceland, 9 October 2016
  • PRE = Preliminary squad.
  • RET = Retired from international football.
  • WD = Withdrew from the squad.
  • INJ = Withdrew due to an injury.

Previous squads[edit]

Competitive record[edit]