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European Football Championship: Orange party in Berlin – Erdogan’s support does not help Turks

European Football Championship: Orange party in Berlin – Erdogan’s support does not help Turks
European Football Championship: Orange party in Berlin – Erdogan’s support does not help Turks

Erdogan’s visit is not crowned with success. Turkey loses to the Netherlands, who reward themselves for a strong second half. The wolf salute scandal overshadows the game.

Arm in arm, the strong-nerved Dutch team, led by captain Virgil van Dijk, celebrated their entry into the European Championship semi-finals in front of their fans. The Turkish players of national coach Vincenzo Montella, on the other hand, remained shocked on the pitch in the Berlin cauldron. National coach Ronald Koeman’s team won the highly explosive quarter-final against Turkey 2-1 (0-1) after their wolf salute scandal in the Olympic Stadium thanks to an improvement in performance in the second half.

The Netherlands, driven by substitute Wout Weghorst, can continue to hope for their second European Championship triumph on German soil after 1988. “It was a real battle, the Turks have a lot of heart and great quality. We really had to suffer,” reported Stefan de Vrij, who scored the equalizer. “Overall, it was a great game.”

Of all people, Samet Akaydin (35th minute), who came into the starting eleven for Merih Demiral, who was suspended for his wolf salute, put the Turks in the lead in front of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former German international Mesut Özil. De Vrij (70th) and an own goal by Mert Müldür (76th), who was put under pressure by Cody Gakpo, turned the game around and ensured a wild party for the Oranje. The English, who have not been very convincing so far, await in the semi-finals on Wednesday. In injury time, Bertug Yildirim from the Turkish bench was sent off.

For the Turks, the European Championships came to a bitter end in sporting terms, following the political turmoil caused by Demiral’s highly controversial wolf salute, which resulted in him being banned for two games. They initially defied the pressure and were the slightly better team for long stretches. Their dream of reaching the semi-finals of a European Championship for the first time in 16 years was destroyed by a lack of concentration in the final phase.

Özil behind Erdogan

Wearing a dark suit and red tie, Erdogan, who had travelled to Berlin just for the match, watched the game in the VIP stands with his wife Emine. The former German international player Özil sat directly behind him. From there, they could also see how many Turkish fans gave the wolf salute when the national anthem was played.

The fans’ march to the stadium had already been ended early by the police because the Turkish supporters had continuously shown the wolf salute. The police wrote on the short message service X: A fan march is “not a platform for political messages”.

A European Championship match was also not an option, UEFA decided, and therefore banned Demiral. The 26-year-old had shown the symbol of the “Grey Wolves” against Austria. This is the name given to supporters of the right-wing extremist “Ülkücü movement”, which is being monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany. All of this had further heated up the high-risk match.

Passionate Turks, playful Dutch

The Turks went into the match with plenty of defiance. “We will be even more passionate and proud,” announced coach Montella, but at the same time demanded of his players: “We have to curb our emotions.”

The opening phase showed how important this balance is. The Dutch attack with the tricky Gakpo, Xavi Simons and Memphis Depay ran at high speed towards the opponent’s goal, but often seemed too playful. The Turks defended with tough tackles and passion – and from the middle of the first half onwards also gained more possession of the ball.

Hakan Calhanoglu, who was back in charge in central midfield alongside Dortmund’s Salih Özcan after serving a yellow card suspension, also posed a threat. That’s how the lead came: after a corner from the former Bundesliga pro, the ball landed at Arda Güler’s feet, and the 19-year-old served a tailor-made cross to the head of goal scorer Akaydin. Demiral applauded in the stands and laughed – but he refrained from making another provocative gesture.

Weghorst revives the Oranje game

National coach Koeman reacted at half-time and brought on super-sub Weghorst for the disappointing Steven Bergwijn. Weghorst, who was loaned to Hoffenheim last season, also brought more momentum to Oranje’s attacking game. The Turks now ventured forward less and had good chances to make it 2-0 through Güler’s post-hit free kick (56th minute) and Kenan Yildiz (65th minute). But then the Dutch, who were much better in the final phase, successfully came back. They held out against the onrushing Turks, with goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen in particular making a decisive contribution.

Source: Stern

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