Turkey headed into Euro 2020 with high hopes after cruising through the qualification stage and impressing in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers shortly before the summer tournament.
However, they ended up crashing out at the group stage after failing to record a single point, conceding eight goals and conceding just once.
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The worst part is Turkey took four points off France in qualifying and conceded just three goals – none in open play.
This Turkey side managed to keep eight clean sheets and no team had let in fewer goals in qualification.
So what went wrong? Well just about everything. Turkey looked lethargic, manager Senol Gunes’ constant tinkering with the defence backfired. The team looked devoid of a plan.
Turkey were quite simply the worst team at Euro 2020. They had the worst goal average of the teams that finished with zero points.
What makes the poor performances at the tournament more frustrating is knowing how good this team can perform and the quality in the side.
There is no way Turkey were pound for pound the weakest team in the European championships.
Most of the team play at top teams in top five leagues. Caglar Soyuncu is a Premier League star for Leicester City. Ozan Kabak shone at Liverpool, Merih Demiral plays for Juventus. Mehmet Zeki Celik, Yusuf Yazici and Burak Yilmaz won the Ligue 1 title with Lille.
This is a crop of really promising players, most of whom are young.
The youth angle was used as an excuse after the tournament. But it does not wash with me. These players are used to playing at the highest level. Could nerves have played a factor? perhaps but the problem is deeper.
Gunes looked out of his depth. His coaching staff were inadequate in their preparation of the team both physically and mentally. Tactically the manager was left in the dark ages and exposed.
Considering most of these players are performing well for their clubs and due to their age many will be around for the next few tournaments; dropping them is out of the question.
In most walks of life, if you have a position of responsibility in a job; let’s say for argument’s sake a managerial role. You are held responsible if your team fails.
Gunes has to take responsibility if Turkey are to rebuild. A new manager would bring in a fresh approach and help wipe a clean slate to start over again. So far it appears that the experienced head coach has no intention of leaving.
With the World Cup qualifiers looming he has to either quit or learn from his mistakes and try to rebuild. Turkey do have a lot of potential but they will only realise what they are capable of under better management. Gunes has to improve or leave.