Turkey applauds the one that got away

It’s why we love it. Football has that funny way of producing what is meant to be. So when Mesut Ozil lined up against Turkey for the first time in his career, after a week of questions about nationality, preferences and possible celebrations, there was only going to be one outcome.

As the clocked ticked past 79 minutes, stand-in captain Philipp Lahm fed Ozil who coolly placed his shot into the corner of the net.

There was no badge kissing, no raised arm – hell, there was barely a smile – but as his team-mates rushed towards him there was a resounding appreciation from all of Turkey of a player who is destined for greatness.

Throughout the week the Istanbul press seemed resigned to Ozil producing a defining moment in Friday night’s game.  However, post-match it was the way in which Turkey, and more importantly Hiddink, approached the game that worried the journalists.

Typically OTT, Ahmet Cakar wasn't far off with his column titled "One word – Embarrassing". Comparing the side to San Marino or the Faroe Islands may have been a little bit much but it didn’t fail to express his feelings.

There's no hiding the fact that Turkey were very poor. There was no energy, no football and nobody looked capable of doing anything about it - but can you blame the players, given Hiddink’s tactics?

Galatasaray right-back Sabri was played at left back, Hamit Altintop was moved from the right of midfield to left-wing while Ozer Hurmaci, who has struggled to play for Fenerbahce this season, was given a start on the right of midfield. Germany away is hardly the game to start tinkering.

It could be that the Turkish players paid too much attention to Ozil to worry about anybody else. It certainly seemed so when Lahm lofted a hopeful cross into the box which found the head of Thomas Muller before Miroslav Klose tapped in from close range.

The truth is, Germany rarely needed to get out of second gear and it wasn’t until late in the second half that Ozil and Klose wrapped up the win. Ozil’s goal wouldn't have surprised many, nor would the sight of goalkeeper Volkan Demirel committing his umpteenth career howler by kicking the ball straight at Klose to allow the striker in for his second goal.

A bad evening for Turkey was topped off with the news that Mehmet Aurelio will be sidelined for a month after being stretchered off. It will be a big blow for Hiddink, who has already lost Arda Turan and didn’t even consider Valencia’s Mehmet Topal when choosing the squad.

Having flown back from Berlin just days ago, Arda will be back in Germany on Monday to have surgery on his injured groin. He will miss at least six weeks due to his osteitis pubis – a condition which can seriously affect the careers of footballers, according to Wikipedia. He’ll be back in no time then.

Meanwhile it’s off to Azerbaijan for Hiddink & Co. Expect some over-the-top embraces from the big cheeses, who will be very keen to display a sense of unity between two countries who have a shaky past.

It's difficult to imagine the same bonhomie on the pitch – nor in the newspapers on Wednesday morning if Turkey fail to get three points. Pressure? What pressure?

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