Football: Turkish fans in bullish mood Turks' 10 men hold on to win

Click to follow
The Independent Online
GLENN HODDLE is not the only international coach with problems. Germany's Erich Ribbeck, who replaced Bertie Vogts last month, began his new career with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Turkey in Bursa. The Bull of the Bosphorus, aka Hakan Sukur, was the Turkish hero when he headed the winner 20 minutes from time after German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn had failed to clear a loose ball.

Turkey's Tayfun Korkut was sent off seconds later for a second bookable offence, but Germany were unable to exploit their extra-man advantage, leaving Turkey at the top of Group Three with six points from six.

Thousands of expatriates - there are 2.3 million Turks in Germany - celebrated their country's first victory over Germany in 47 years by partying into the early hours with traffic in parts of Berlin brought to a standstill.

The world champions, France, desperate to bury the embarrassment of last month's draw in Iceland, came good and gave their coach, Roger Lemerre, a 3-2 success in Russia but Ukraine lead Group Four with six points, having beaten Andorra 2-0 away.

Italy are top of Group One after Alessandro Del Piero finally found the net, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Switzerland to end a five-month goal drought.

The 23-year-old Juventus striker had not scored in open play since April and, before Saturday, he had gone 17 matches without scoring. His only goal came from the penalty spot in the Italian Supercup, a curtainraiser to the league season.

"Hallelujah Del Piero," ran the headline in Gazzetta dello Sport. "The national side has rediscovered a key player in his most difficult moment."

"Del Piero. Magnificent obsession," said Corriere dello Sport, praising the Italy coach, Dino Zoff, for standing by his striker. Del Piero's goals were the eighth and ninth of his international career and, more importantly, his first in a competitive match for Italy.

Poland swept to the head of Group Five by beating Luxembourg 3-0 in Warsaw. Latvia have taken early command in Group Two after beating Georgia 1-0, having already won in Norway. Andrei Sholtsers scored the only goal of the game inside the opening minute straight from a corner kick. The Norwegians got off the mark with a 2-1 win in Slovenia, where Chelsea's Tore Andre Flo scored.

And if Scotland were looking at Wednesday's match with the Faroe Islands as some kind of walkover, their opponents' 0-0 draw in Lithuania will help concentrate a few minds. Scotland were fortunate to come away from Lithuania with a similar scoreline and the Faroes will travel to Pittodrie confident that they can take something from the game.

In Group Six, Cyprus came down to earth from their astonishing victory over Spain last month to a thumping 3-0 home defeat at the hands of unpredictable Austria. Israel now lead the group after their 5-0 win in San Marino and receive Spain on Wednesday evening.

Comments