Turkey

Getty Images

Turkish players defy UEFA with another military salute

3 Comments

PARIS (AP) Turkish players defied UEFA with another military salute in Turkey’s 1-1 draw with France in their European Championship qualifier on Monday.

UEFA was already looking into Turkish players’ salutes from during and after Friday’s 1-0 win over Albania. The European soccer federation prohibits political statements in stadiums.

But Turkish players lined up again to show a military salute after Kaan Ayhan’s late equalizer in Paris. Captain Burak Yilmaz was joined by goalkeeper Mert Gunok and several other outfield players in giving the salute toward the crowd – in apparent support of the Turkish forces involved in the country’s invasion of Kurdish-held regions in northern Syria.

Defender Merih Demiral urged Ayhan to salute, too, leading to what looked like a heated discussion between the two, but the goal-scorer desisted and made his way back to the pitch.

Ayhan and Turkey striker Kenan Karaman both play for German side Fortuna Dusseldorf, which had issued a statement after Friday’s game to distance itself from “politically motivated acts.”

“Both players stand for values that the club lives by,” Dusseldorf sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel said.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Euro 2020 qualifying: France settles for draw with Turkey

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Euro 2020 qualifying continued on Monday and included a top-of-the-group clash in Group H.

[READ: England rout Bulgaria in game marred by racist chants]

France 1-1 Turkey

France spoiled a chance at home to put one foot in Euro 2020 after conceding late in the match and settling for a draw with Turkey.

Despite playing without a lot of starters – Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Hugo Lloris are all out injured – France still was strong in the first half and peppered Turkey with 12 shots. Goalkeeper Mert Gunok made an outstanding double-save in the first half and Leicester City’s Çağlar Söyüncü did his best to keep Antoine Griezmann in front of him.

In the 72nd minute, Olivier Giroud came on the field as a substitute and four minutes later, he put France in front to the delight of the home crowd at the Stade de France. What else, but a header off a corner. However, the lead didn’t last long. Off a free kick in the 82nd minute, Hakan Calhanoglu’s delivery was nodded home by Kaan Ayhan. The 1-1 draw leaves both France and Turkey tied with 19 points from eight qualifying matches. It also means that Turkey hasn’t lost to France over two games in this qualifying cycle.

Here’s a look at the rest of Monday’s scores:

Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifying scores

Group A

Bulgaria 0-6 England

Kosovo 2-0 Montenegro

Group B

Lithuania 1-2 Serbia

Ukraine 2-1 Portugal

Group H

Iceland 2-0 Andorra

Moldova 0-4 Albania

Turkey says national team treated badly at Iceland airport

Getty Images
6 Comments

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkish officials have condemned the treatment its national soccer team endured upon arrival in Iceland ahead of a European Championship qualifying game.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the Turkey players were kept at passport control for more than two hours at Keflavik Airport on Sunday while their bags were repeatedly searched. The report said a man held a toilet cleaning brush like a microphone while team captain Emre Belezoglu spoke to Turkish journalists.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter the team’s treatment in Iceland was “unacceptable from the point of diplomatic and humane practices.”

Turkey moved to the top of its Euro 2020 qualifying group by beating World Cup champion France 2-0 at home on Saturday.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Player accused of injuring four opponents in Turkey

Getty Images
Leave a comment

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkey’s state-run news agency says prosecutors have launched an investigation into a footballer who is accused of injuring four other players with a “sharp object” during a third-tier game in southeastern Turkey.

Anadolu Agency said four members of Sakaryaspor team accused midfielder Mansur Calar of home team Amed SFK of wounding them on Saturday during a match in the mostly Kurdish populated city of Diyarbakir.

A court imposed a travel ban on Calar pending the outcome of the investigation.

Amed SFK has denied the allegations, accusing the rival team players of aiming to cause “tensions and enmity.”

Amed SFK, whose fan base is largely Kurdish, frequently faces hostility in away games, especially in regions where Turkish nationalist sentiments run high.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

UEFA Nations League: Portugal win group with Italy draw

Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the UEFA Nations League…

[ MORE: Report: Chelsea interested in Christian Pulisic move ]

Italy 0-0 Portugal

Portugal were without Cristiano Ronaldo, but it didn’t matter as the reigning European champions blunted Italy and held on for a scoreless draw away from home to secure top spot in League A Group 3.

With Ronaldo taking a break from the national team, Portugal managed to win their first two games — one each against Italy and Poland — to arrive at seven points with one game against the last-place and already-relegated Poles remaining.

Turkey 0-1 Sweden

Andreas Granqvist scored the game’s only goal, from the penalty spot, to send Sweden second in League B Group 2 and set up a final-day showdown with Russia for the top spot in the three-team group to secure promotion to League A.

The two sides drew 0-0 in their first meeting, in Russia, last month. A win would send Sweden into the top flight, while a loss or draw would see the Russians battle Europe’s elites next time around.

Albania 0-4 Scotland

Likewise, Scotland put themselves in prime position to win promotion to League B with an emphatic victory over Albania. The Scots’ final-day clash with Israel — the nations are level on six points — will determine the winners of Group C League 1.

Because Israel won the first matchup, they would take the tiebreaker in event of a draw next week.

Elsewhere in UEFA Nations League

League C Group 4

Serbia 2-1 Montenegro
Romania 3-0 Lithuania

League D Group 3

Malta 0-5 Kosovo
Azerbaijan 2-0 Faroe Islands

Sunday’s UEFA Nations League schedule

League A Group 2

Switzerland vs. Belgium — 2:45 p.m. ET

League A Group 4

England vs. Croatia — 9 a.m. ET

League B Group 3

Northern Ireland vs. Austria — 12 p.m. ET

League C Group 2

Hungary vs. Finland — 2:45 p.m. ET
Greece vs. Estonia — 2:45 p.m. ET

League D Group 2

San Marino vs. Belarus — 12 p.m. ET
Moldova vs. Luxembourg — 12 p.m. ET