Türkiye secures its European Championship ticket – 4-0 against Latvia
The Turkish national team defeated Latvia 4-0 and qualified early for the 2024 European Championship. With a late final offensive, the hosts put the lid on it.
Big cheers: Turkey will be at the European Championships in Germany next summer.
Anadolu via Getty Images
With the 1-0 win in Croatia on Thursday, new Turkish national coach Vincenzo Montella got the perfect start to his term in office. Against Latvia, the Italian only changed his starting lineup in one position compared to the most recent win: Akgün came into the team for Irfan Can (bench).
A few days before the away game in Turkey, the guests from Latvia were able to score their first points in the European Championship qualification when they beat Armenia 2-0. At the bottom of Group D, coach Dainis Kazakevics made two changes to his starting squad, bringing on Dubra and Tobers from the start. Emsis took a seat on the bench instead, Oss was missing from the squad after his yellow-red card.
Akgün despairs of the VAR – and then scores worth seeing
For the Turks, Akgün was definitely recommended for further starting eleven appearances; the Leicester City winger posed a goal threat from the start. So it wasn’t surprising that Akgün was responsible for what was supposed to be the home team’s first goal. However, due to Calhanoglu being offside during the attack, the referee, in collaboration with the VAR, conceded the interim 1-0 (22′).
Turkey was unimpressed by this and created further notable opportunities, especially through their two striking wingers Akgün (26th) and Aktürkoglu (35th and 45th). However, the best chance in the first half fell to central defender Bardakci, who headed the ball onto the crossbar from just a few meters in the 36th minute.
The second half started with Turkey’s continued dominance and three yellow cards within eleven minutes for Latvia, before Akgün was able to reward himself for his strong performance: With a cross from the left, Özkacar found the offensive player, who, as a result of a short control of the ball, was irresistible chased into the left corner of the cross. A great goal from the 23-year-old, who this time was able to celebrate without VAR objections (58th).
The opening goal brought a slight break in the Turkish game, but the Latvians were unable to take advantage of their – sometimes top-class – opportunities in the person of Savalnieks (62nd), Uldrikis (67th) or Ikaunieks (77th).
Tosun’s substitution turns out to be spot on
Instead, the hosts started a final offensive with the substitution of striker Tosun, which the Joker confidently initiated with his header in the 83rd minute. Aktürkoglu’s ice-cold finish (87th) as well as Tosun’s second strike, which had been inserted after an assist from Yüksek (90th + 2), gave Turkey a deserved 4-0 win and a ticket to the finals of the European Championship.
Turkey has a friendly match against the German national team in the Berlin Olympic Stadium on November 18th (8:45 p.m.). Latvia will face Croatia in the European Championship qualifiers on the same day (6 p.m.).