Turkey players during a training session for this evening’s international friendly football match against Romania in İstanbul.

The Turkish national football team hosts Romania in a warm-up match at the Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Kadiköy, İstanbul, this evening as the two countries prepare for their Euro 2012 qualifying openers next month.

Former Turkey coach Fatih Terim quit last year because the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup and Dutchman Guus Hiddink was hired in his stead.

Turkish fans expected a complete overhaul of the team under Hiddink. They wanted the Dutchman to pump fresh blood into the squad. But Hiddink has not done that so far, preferring to stick to the same old timers who were used by his predecessor.

And the Turkey squad that was named for today’s match against Romania is undeniable proof of this fact.

Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel (Fenerbahçe), Hakan Arıkan (Beşiktaş), Onur Recep Kıvrak (Trabzonspor).

Defenders: Gökhan Gönül (Fenerbahçe), Sabrı Sarıoğlu, Gökhan Zan, Servet Çetin, Hakan Kadir Balta (Galatasaray), İbrahim Kaş (Getafe), İsmail Köybası (Beşiktaş).

Midfielders: Mehmet Aurelio (Real Betis), Selçuk Şahin, Emre Belozoğlu, Kazım Kazım (Fenerbahçe), Nuri Şahin (Borussia Dortmund), Hamit Altıntop (Bayern Munich), Arda Turan (Galatasaray), Ozan İpek (Bursaspor).

Forwards: Mevlut Erdinç (Paris Saint-Germain), Halil Altıntop (Eintracht Frankfurt), Tuncay Şanlı (Stoke City), Sercan Yıldırım (Bursaspor), Nihat Kahveci (Beşiktaş).

The funny thing, though, is that a player like Gökhan Gönül is still recovering from injury and was not fielded in any Fener match in pre-season. The same applies to İbrahim Kaş — and some fans, naturally, are not happy one bit.

“What kind of a team selection is this?” an irate fan named Yusuf demanded in a conversation with Today’s Zaman by phone on Monday.

“It completely defies football logic. There is no Mehmet Topal, but there is Aurelio. No Volkan Şen, but there is Kazım; no Egemen Korkmaz, no Ömer Erdoğan, but there is Gökhan Zan. I am hopping mad,” he added.

Another fan, Levent, was even more sarcastic. “I think Hiddink watched Gökhan Zan, İbrahim Kaş and İbrahim Köybaşı during practice sessions, because these guys have hardly kicked the ball so far this season,” he said. “In a nutshell, whoever selected this squad is not living in this country,” he added.

The US team defeated Hiddink and Turkey with this team in a friendly at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on May 29. That the Dutchman has not made even a single addition to the Terim squad has really infuriated some diehard fans.

Turkey, a semifinalist in Euro 2008, was drawn in Group A, which includes Germany, Austria, Kazakhstan, Belgium and Azerbaijan. The Turks play their opening match against Kazakhstan on Sept. 3 and all football-loving fans in Turkey will be rooting for their national team in this group.

But the bitter truth is that the Germans rarely fail to qualify for any major football extravaganza. And based on the performance of their young team in South Africa, Joachim Löw’s men appear to be the group favorites. Second place is likely to be a do-or-die battle between Turkey and Belgium.

But finishing first or second in Group A is not the issue. The real issue here is that Turkish fans want to see their country at Euro 2012, which will be held in Poland and Ukraine.

Turkey has missed out on the last two consecutive World Cups, and failing to qualify for another major football event is something the Turkish fans cannot accept.

Romania will be playing in Group D of the qualifiers against France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania and Luxembourg. France may be down, but it’s definitely not out, despite its flop in the World Cup. The French, on paper at least, are still the favorites in this group.

The Romanians have qualified for the European Championship finals three times with their best finish at Euro 2000, when they reached the quarterfinals — losing 2-0 to eventual runner-up Italy. Like Turkey, they failed to qualify for the World Cup.

None of the other teams in Group D have ever qualified for Euro finals. So given the weakness of this group, Romania could qualify automatically for Euro 2012 as leader or best runner-up.

But Romania, coached by Razvan Lucescu, son of the world-renowned player and coach Mircea Lucescu, is not leaving anything to chance and is therefore training very hard ahead of the qualifiers. That could make Turkey’s task this evening tougher.

21:15 Turkey vs. Romania

Read the article on Today’s Zaman

Turkey takes on Romania today with Terim’s team

Turkey players during a training session for this evening’s international friendly football match against Romania in İstanbul.

The Turkish national football team hosts Romania in a warm-up match at the Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Kadiköy, İstanbul, this evening as the two countries prepare for their Euro 2012 qualifying openers next month.

Former Turkey coach Fatih Terim quit last year because the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup and Dutchman Guus Hiddink was hired in his stead.

Turkish fans expected a complete overhaul of the team under Hiddink. They wanted the Dutchman to pump fresh blood into the squad. But Hiddink has not done that so far, preferring to stick to the same old timers who were used by his predecessor.

And the Turkey squad that was named for today’s match against Romania is undeniable proof of this fact.

Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel (Fenerbahçe), Hakan Arıkan (Beşiktaş), Onur Recep Kıvrak (Trabzonspor).

Defenders: Gökhan Gönül (Fenerbahçe), Sabrı Sarıoğlu, Gökhan Zan, Servet Çetin, Hakan Kadir Balta (Galatasaray), İbrahim Kaş (Getafe), İsmail Köybası (Beşiktaş).

Midfielders: Mehmet Aurelio (Real Betis), Selçuk Şahin, Emre Belozoğlu, Kazım Kazım (Fenerbahçe), Nuri Şahin (Borussia Dortmund), Hamit Altıntop (Bayern Munich), Arda Turan (Galatasaray), Ozan İpek (Bursaspor).

Forwards: Mevlut Erdinç (Paris Saint-Germain), Halil Altıntop (Eintracht Frankfurt), Tuncay Şanlı (Stoke City), Sercan Yıldırım (Bursaspor), Nihat Kahveci (Beşiktaş).

The funny thing, though, is that a player like Gökhan Gönül is still recovering from injury and was not fielded in any Fener match in pre-season. The same applies to İbrahim Kaş — and some fans, naturally, are not happy one bit.

“What kind of a team selection is this?” an irate fan named Yusuf demanded in a conversation with Today’s Zaman by phone on Monday.

“It completely defies football logic. There is no Mehmet Topal, but there is Aurelio. No Volkan Şen, but there is Kazım; no Egemen Korkmaz, no Ömer Erdoğan, but there is Gökhan Zan. I am hopping mad,” he added.

Another fan, Levent, was even more sarcastic. “I think Hiddink watched Gökhan Zan, İbrahim Kaş and İbrahim Köybaşı during practice sessions, because these guys have hardly kicked the ball so far this season,” he said. “In a nutshell, whoever selected this squad is not living in this country,” he added.

The US team defeated Hiddink and Turkey with this team in a friendly at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on May 29. That the Dutchman has not made even a single addition to the Terim squad has really infuriated some diehard fans.

Turkey, a semifinalist in Euro 2008, was drawn in Group A, which includes Germany, Austria, Kazakhstan, Belgium and Azerbaijan. The Turks play their opening match against Kazakhstan on Sept. 3 and all football-loving fans in Turkey will be rooting for their national team in this group.

But the bitter truth is that the Germans rarely fail to qualify for any major football extravaganza. And based on the performance of their young team in South Africa, Joachim Löw’s men appear to be the group favorites. Second place is likely to be a do-or-die battle between Turkey and Belgium.

But finishing first or second in Group A is not the issue. The real issue here is that Turkish fans want to see their country at Euro 2012, which will be held in Poland and Ukraine.

Turkey has missed out on the last two consecutive World Cups, and failing to qualify for another major football event is something the Turkish fans cannot accept.

Romania will be playing in Group D of the qualifiers against France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania and Luxembourg. France may be down, but it’s definitely not out, despite its flop in the World Cup. The French, on paper at least, are still the favorites in this group.

The Romanians have qualified for the European Championship finals three times with their best finish at Euro 2000, when they reached the quarterfinals — losing 2-0 to eventual runner-up Italy. Like Turkey, they failed to qualify for the World Cup.

None of the other teams in Group D have ever qualified for Euro finals. So given the weakness of this group, Romania could qualify automatically for Euro 2012 as leader or best runner-up.

But Romania, coached by Razvan Lucescu, son of the world-renowned player and coach Mircea Lucescu, is not leaving anything to chance and is therefore training very hard ahead of the qualifiers. That could make Turkey’s task this evening tougher.

21:15 Turkey vs. Romania

Read the article on Today’s Zaman

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