Diplomatic almost to the point of tedium, the Liechtenstein caretaker coach, Walter Hermann, refused his inquisitors the answer they wanted most. "Which team is going to win Group Seven?''
Turkey had just gone one better than England with a three-goal win in the Rheinpark Stadion but Hermann, who succeeded Ralf Lose (pronounced Loser) soon after England's 2-0 success last March, would not be drawn beyond saying: "Turkey let the ball roll. English football is nice but technically I prefer Turkey.''
So, too, does Liechtenstein's goalkeeper, Peter Jehle, who said: "England are more powerful, more physical, but Turkey play the small passes. They are very technical.''
Jehle can still hardly believe that his next stop on Wednesday will be Old Trafford. He was in Barcelona the day one of his team-mates rang him to say the venue had been fixed for Liechtenstein's visit. "I couldn't sleep that day,'' he recalled. "I thought my friend was joking. I thought we would be playing in a smaller stadium.''
Jehle had his work cut out on Saturday restricting the Turks to a three-goal margin but he had no chance with any of the goals fired in by the team who will need to overcome England in Istanbul on 11 October to win the group. "My heart is a bit more for England but in Istanbul it's hell,'' Jehle added. "They're really crazy. Mentally it will be hard but England are used to that. There should be no problem.''
When the first let-off for Turkey came in the 12th minute, Franz Burgmeier driving just over with Liechtenstein's first attempt, it shook the visitors into taking the lead two minutes later, Tumer Metin sweeping in Tuncay Sanli's return pass.
Almost every time Liechtenstein half-threatened, Turkey's response was to score, doing so the next time through Okan Buruk's masterful lob over Jehle. That came after Rustu Recber had been called into serious action his one and only time. He tipped Martin Stocklasa's header over to deny Liechtenstein a consolation goal.
With Blackburn's Tugay revelling in midfield just behind the impressive Buruk, spraying passes to, among others, his former club-mate Hakan Sukur, Turkey easily retained control.
Beginning with a slightly wayward cross shot, Sukur then squeezed Turkey's third goal past Jehle before striking an upright in their final attack. "Conceding only three goals was a success for us,'' said a much relieved Hermann.
Goals: Metin (12) 0-1, Buruk (41) 0-2, Sukur (50) 0-3.
LIECHTENSTEIN (4-4-2): Jehle (Grasshoppers); Telser, Hasler (both Vaduz), Ritter (Chur 97), Michael Stocklasa (Vaduz); T Beck (Thiasso), Martin Stocklasa (Vaduz), Frick (Ternana), Gerster; G'Elia, Burgmeier (all Vaduz). Substitutes: Maierhofer (Balzers) for Michael Stocklasa, 85; R Beck (VfB Hohenems) for T Beck, 60; Buchel (Thur 97) for Burgmeier, 60.
TURKEY (4-3-3): Rustu (Barcelona); Umit (Werder Bremen), Alpay (Aston Villa), Korkmaz (Galatasaray), Uzulmez (Besiktas); Buruk (Inter Milan), Tugay (Blackburn), Ergun (Galatasaray); Sanli (Fenerbahce), Metin (Besiktas), Sukur (Galatasaray). Substitutes: Deniz (Genclerbirligi) for Korkmaz, 64; Karadeniz (Trabzonspor) for Buruk, 75; Sas (Galatasaray) for Metin, 64.
Referee: D Van Egmond (Netherlands).
Booking: Liechtenstein Michael Stocklasa.
Man of the match: Tugay.
Attendance: 3,548.Reuse content