Turkish national team – Fatih Terim resigns

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After the Euro 2008 tournament, the Turkish national team was flying high.  A semifinal appearance in the most dramatic of fashions showed that Turkish football could play with the big boys on the big stages.  Fast forward to now.  With Bosnia winning their match against Estonia on Saturday, Turkey was eliminated from qualification from the World Cup next year, all this before taking the field against Belgium.  Perhaps the blame should rest on the man who has guided the team since the summer of 2005, Fatih Terim.  Terim resigned as national team manager after the Belgium match, which Turkey lost 2-0, effective after the match against Armenia on Wednesday.

Terim had many successes in the past.  In his first tenure as national team manager, he guided Turkey to its first European Championship appearance in 1996.  After quitting the national side, he led Galatasaray, the club which he starred as a player, to four consecutive Turkish Super League championships from 1997 to 2000.  He would hit his peak in 2000, when Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup over Arsenal in a penalty shootout.  He would then have stints at Fiorentina and AC Milan.  He was best known for his chaotic approach to the game, and perhaps too much confidence.  The “emperor”, as he is nicknamed, decided to use these as his coaching methods.  Perhaps it was these attributes that cost him.  Using players that were injury prone and those who were in the national team for a while could also be looked upon as the reason why he failed.  His chaotic ways helped him during the Euro 2008 tournament, but injuries there seemed to force his hand.  In the World Cup 2010 qualifiers, those same chaotic ways cost him.  While Terim should be lauded for getting Turkey to outperform even its own expectations in Euro 2008, time was fast approaching for a change.

When it comes to getting into tournaments, Turkey always plays their guts out.  Whether it was Euro 2008 or even back in the World Cup of 2002, you could count on this country to make a game exciting.  Qualifiers on the other hand, they are another story.  The great teams almost always beat the minnows without problems and fight hard against teams above their league.  Turkey can’t even beat Estonia, and last time I checked, Estonia isn’t a high-flying team.  What is most missing from the Turkish national team is consistency.  Erratic play doesn’t cut it in international matches; club football maybe, but certainly not international play.  As for who will be Turkish national manager next, chances are they might go with a foreigner.  There doesn’t seem to be a Turkish coach who is ready to sit in the hot seat.  Perhaps it is time to see a foreign coach take the reigns.  After all, it couldn’t hurt to try something a little different, could it?  That will be the question the Turkish Football Federation will have to answer.