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FIFA U-17 World Cup: 2005 semi-finalists Turkey look to repeat past heroics

Turkey’s best performance in a FIFA U-17 World Cup came in their debut season when they finished fourth after losing to Brazil in the semifinal.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Sep 30, 2017 15:33 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Turkey football team
Turkey will take part in their third FIFA U-17 World Cup after 2005 and 2009.(FIFA)

Turkey have played two U-17 World Cup finals – 2005 and 2009. In their debut championship appearance in Peru they made it to the semi-fnal before going down 3-4 to Brazil. They even finished above eventual champions Mexico in Group B in 2005, and were the only team to beat the Mexicans in the tournament that year. But the Turks could not get the better of Netherlands in the third place match. In 2009, Turkey failed to make it past Colombia in the quarter-finals owing to a 5-3 defeat via penalties. The Turkish youth side has however, won the Uefa U-17 European Championship title in 2005, highlighted by Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin’s bagging of the Golden Player award and Tevfik Kose finishing as top-scorer. The U-17 side has also made it to three continental championship semifinals – 2008, 2010 and 2017.

KNOW THE COACH: Mehmet Hacioglu

The 57-year-old was appointed to the helm of Turkey’s U-17 team in 2014. The Bulgarian born tactician was also turned out for Turkish giants Fenerbahce as a player before turning to a managerial position with teams such as the Feners’ U-20s.

PAST PERFORMANCE:

Fourth place: 2005. Quarter-finals: 2009. Did not qualify: 1985-2003, 2011-15.

PASSAGE TO INDIA

Turkey were paired with Spain, Italy and host nation Croatia in the 2017 Uefa European Championship to which they had made a return to after six years. Although beaten by eventual champions Spain (3-2) in the first match, the Turks responded with victories over Italy (2-1) and Croatia (4-1) to make it to the knockout stage. Turkey got the better of Hungary (2-1) to secure a place in India before going to down to England in the semifinal.

Results in Euro U-17: Lost to Spain 2-3, beat Croatia 4-1, beat Italy, 2-1, beat Hungary 1-0 (QF), lost to England 1-2 (SF).

POSSIBLE GAME-CHANGERS

Name: Malik Karaahmet

Age: 17

Club: Karlsruher SC (GER)

Position: Forward

Why he is special: Scored three goals in the Euros; got one each against Spain, Croatia and Italy indicating that his big-game mentality.

Name: Atalay Babacan

Age: 17

Club: Galatasaray II

Position: Midfielder

Why he is special: The left-footed attacking midfielder scored a vital goal for the Turks against Italy in the group stages, thus securing their progression to the knockout phase.

Name: Kerem Atakan Kesgin

Age: 17

Club: Bucaspor

Position: Midfielder

Why he is special: The central midfielder got one goal to his name in the European youth tournament and was key to the Turks’ build-up play throughout the tournament.

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 15:28 IST