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Turkey coach Terim's plan to block Portugal wingers fails at Euro 2008

Turkey coach Terim's plan to block Portugal wingers fails at Euro 2008

Turkey coach Fatih Terim set up his game strategy to block Portugal wingers Cristiano Ronaldo and Simao Sabrosa. He could not predict a goal by Portuguese defender Pepe through the center of his team's back line would be the first in a 2-0 loss.
Terim wanted to make sure both wingers could be tightly marked by at least one player. To do that, he changed his right back in the lineup from Sabri Sarioglu to Hamit Altintop, whom he had been using mostly as a midfielder in friendlies ahead of the European Championship.
Altintop is used to playing both as a fullback and a midfielder, but his defensive skills are known to be better than those of Sarioglu. Terim also opted for Kazim Kazim over Arda Turan to fill the void left by Altintop's move to the back.
The 21-year-old Turan has been known to drift out of games late in the second half due to fatigue, and Kazim's presence definitely brought some strength in the midfield.
On the left, Hakan Balta usually got extra help from Servet Cetin and Tuncay Sanli to contain drives by Ronaldo.
Things were looking good for Terim for the most part of the first half. Ronaldo hardly produced a dangerous move from Portugal's right flank, and Simao mostly found himself marked by Altintop in his attempts to get through the Turkey defense early in the game.
After that, the Turkey defense looked increasingly disorganized in Portugal attacks, causing serious trouble for goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.
Sarioglu replaced Mevlut Erdinc in the second half, as the latter rarely helped the team's defense. Still, Altintop found himself one-on-one with Ronaldo several times, giving way to dangerous Portuguese attacks.
But the Portuguese goal came from the feet of central defender Pepe due to a leak through the center of Turkey back line.
"We conceded a really bad goal at the time we were fully able to block the wings," Terim said.
His plans to score mostly relied on sudden counterattacks as the Turks were unable to keep the ball for very long. Most of the through balls and long passes aimed for Nihat Kahveci or Sanli were taken or knocked away by the Portuguese defense.
The Turks tried to keep the ball longer in the second half but that also failed to produce much trouble for Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo.
And the coach's move to substitute Semih Senturk, who has scored many late goals in the Champions League for Fenerbahce after coming on from the bench, also did not bring the creativity that Turkey's attack lacked.
"Normally, we are a team that plays with precise passes. We play with high accuracy," Terim said. "In this game, we seemed not able to do it."