Turkey qualify as Selçuk İnan stunner seals win over Iceland
Euro 2016 qualifying, Konya Torku Arena - Turkey 1 (Inan 89) Iceland 0.
Turkey's players celebrate after winning their Euro 2016 Group A qualification soccer match against Iceland in Konya, Turkey, October 13, 2015. Turkey snatched automatic qualification for Euro 2016 as the best third-placed team with a last-gasp goal to se
Selçuk İnan scored in the final minute of normal time as 10-man Turkey overcome Iceland 1-0 to secure their place at next summer's Euro 2016 finals in France as the best third-placed team.
Fatih Terim's side were assured of a play-off spot from Group A with the Netherlands slumping to an incredible 3-2 home defeat to the Czech Republic in Amsterdam, but somehow qualified automatically courtesy of Kazakhstan's 1-0 win in Latvia.
Turkey knew a win would seal their progress at the expense of Hungary who were the best third-placed side from Group F going into the night, but their hopes of three points looked over when Gökhan Töre was sent off for a wretched tackle on Iceland's Jon Dadi Bodvarsson with 12 minutes remaining.
With one minute of normal time and four minutes of added time to play, Selçuk İnan sent a stunning shot free-kick high into the net with Ögmundur Kristinsson having no chance as the 40,000 plus crowd in Konya could not believe their good fortune.
When the news came through from Riga of Kazakhstan's win, Turkey had qualified with Latvia dropping to bottom place in the section. Results do not count against the bottom side in the group giving Turkey the advantage over Hungary as they become the 20th team to qualify for the finals.
Turkey's Selcuk Inan (3R) celebrates scoring with team mates during their Euro 2016 Group A qualification soccer match against Iceland in Konya, Turkey, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Image credit: Reuters
They avoid the play-offs for the finals which was an astonishing outcome after they lost their first two matches of the campaign. Czech Republic qualify as group winners with Iceland joining them as runners-up.
How will Turkey perform at the finals? They look to be on their way back as a competitive football team after some years in the wilderness. This night was all about bottle, and Fatih Terim's side deserve enormous credit for keeping it together even when they went down to 10 men. With Arda Turan set to play for Barcelona from January, they will hope he is in peak form to lead their assault on the finals. It is easy to forget that Turkey lost their opening two matches of this campaign, but unlike the poor Dutch, they managed to turn the tide in their favour.
27' SO CLOSE! Volkan Şen sends a shot spinning a few yards wide of goal after an appetising free-kick from Hakan Çalhanoğlu. Some nice stuff here from Turkey, but no first goal.
78' RED CARD! Gokhan Tore has been sent off for a horrible tackle on Bödvarsson.
Turkey's Arda Turan (C) fights for the ball with Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson (L) and Kari Arnason during their Euro 2016 Group A qualification soccer match in Konya, Turkey, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Image credit: Reuters
89' GOAL! Selçuk İnan with a stunning free-kick high into the net. Stunning, swerving free-kick. Brilliant finish. Is that the goal that seals Turkey's place at the Euro 2016 finals?
Turkey: Babacan 7; Özbayrakli 7 Aziz 6, Balta 7, Erkin 6; Tufan 7, Inan 8, Özyakup 7; Sen 7, Çalhanoglu 6, Turan 7