Fatih Terim couldn’t get them home. The third-time Turkey boss, appointed in August, had led the team to three straight wins and second in Group D. A win at home on Tuesday against the Dutch would complete their remarkable comeback and send the team into UEFA’s playoffs. When Terim came on board, Turkey sat fourth.
It wasn’t meant to be. The Netherlands, undefeated in qualifying, went up through Arjen Robben after eight minutes, giving the Dutch the 1-0 lead they’d take into halftime. Two minutes into the second half, Galatasaray playmaker Wesley Sneijder doubled the visitors’ advantage. Unable to dent the Dutch’s edge, Turkey’s turnaround ends one win short, the Netherlands taking a 2-0 win out of Istanbul.
The result means the Dutch finish qualifying undefeated, 9-1-0, at the top of Group D. It also means Romania, a team that lost at home to Turkey last month, goes into the playoffs. While they’ll be one of the sides the seeded teams won’t mind drawing, Romania will get the same opportunity Slovenia got four years ago when they upset Russia en route to South Africa. Victor Pițurcă’s team has a chance to return to the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
For Turkey, they accomplished all they could have reasonably hoped for when Terim was appointed. They salvaged their pride. Whereas they were behind the Netherlands, Romania, and Hungary when Abdullah Avcı was replaced, they end qualification knowing only a slow start (not their final quality) kept them from playing into November.
Winning in Romania was surprise enough. Toppling the Dutch may have been too fairy tale-esque. Having won three-of-four since Terim came onboard, Turkey’s reestablished who they were.
That’s no consolation when it comes to Brazil, but it will give the team direction when it comes time to start qualifying for Euro 2016.
Marek Hamsik hit a ball with such momentous force that we’re not sure it rotated more than three full turns on its 20-yard flight into the goal.
The Slovakia star’s goal equalized a friendly with Germany at 1, and Repre went on to hammer the reigning World Cup champs by a 3-1 score.
[ USMNT-BOLIVIA: Recap | 3 things | Player ratings ]
I mean, really, what a hit. Bernd Leno had little hope of touching it.
Longtime Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick spoke glowingly of new boss Jose Mourinho amidst rumors he’ll sign a one-year extension with the Old Trafford set.
Carrick, 34, joined United from Tottenham in 2006, and has won major trophy after major trophy with the club. He wants more, and he doesn’t care how.
[ MORE: United hires Mourinho | Things he must do ]
The 34-times capped English midfielder has 421 appearances for United, and could fit neatly into a Mourinho system.
From The Mirror:
“You have to be number one and winning trophies and if you can do that with a bit of style and a bit of flair then that is the perfect match but first and foremost it is about winning and getting back on top.
“There is going to be change without a doubt because he is coming in and he is his own man.
“He has got an unbelievable track record and everyone is looking for quick results and that’s how it is.”
We have to wonder how the United fans who booed Louis Van Gaal after every turn will react to these comments, although wins cure everything, right?
There were many rumors than N'Golo Kante had a deal that would allow him to leave Leicester City, but the midfielder doesn’t sound like the leaving type.
According to L’Equipe, Kante isn’t looking to leave the Premier League champions, and is content to play in the UEFA Champions League with the Foxes next season.
[ UCL: Real Madrid wins | CR7 reacts | Bale, too ]
He’s been tipped to move to Real Madrid and Manchester City amongst other potential stops.
“For now, I am happy at Leicester,” he said. “I do not pay too much attention to everything that is said.”
That vibe is running through the headlines today, as UEFA Champions League winners Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez say they want to stay at Real Madrid, and Isco is also happy to come back to the Bernabeu to make a run at a first La Liga title since the 2011-12 season.
Steve Bruce saw Hull City go down to the Championship, and pulled the Tigers right back up the Premier League.
Hull won promotion at the first time of asking after defeating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 on Saturday, but Bruce wants to see stability at the KC Stadium.
[ USMNT-BOLIVIA: Recap | 3 things | Player ratings ]
The club remains up for sale after owner Assem Allam saw his request to change the team name to Hull Tigers denied by the English Football Association.
From the BBC:
“I’ll sit down with the owners. It’s not often you walk away from the Premier League – that’s where I want to manage,” Bruce told BBC Radio 5 live.
“But I have to be given certain assurances that we’re all moving in the right direction.
“I keep hearing too many stories that there’s a takeover imminent. We’ll see what develops,” added the 55-year-old.
The longtime Manchester United back has been around the managerial block a few times, and it’d be nice to see him stay at Hull for the long term. He’s led the Tigers into the Premier League on two occasions, and is — seriously — the seventh longest tenured manager in the Football League. He would enter the Premier League as the second-longest serving manager, to Arsene Wenger.