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Wolf salute, Erdogan and a lot of noise: Netherlands defeats Türkiye

Wolf salute, Erdogan and a lot of noise: Netherlands defeats Türkiye

The Turkish fans' march in Berlin was halted by a banned salute, and there was some great football in the Olympic Stadium. Led by Turkey, the Netherlands turned the game around, winning 2-1 and will meet England in the semi-finals.

Berlin. The nervous Dutch reached the European Championship semi-finals in the Turkish cauldron in Berlin and knocked Turkey out of the tournament after the wolf salute scandal. Ronald Koeman's team won a very exciting quarter-final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin 2-1 (0-1) thanks to a surge in the second half and can therefore continue to hope for their second European Championship victory on German soil after 1988.

Of all, Samet Akaydin (minute 35), who replaced Merih Demiral who was suspended for the wolf salute, in the starting lineup, gave the Turks the lead ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former German international Mesut Ozil. Stefan de Vrij (70) and an own goal by Mert Muldor (76) turned the match upside down and ensured a lively orange party. The English, who have not been convincing so far, await in the semi-finals on Wednesday. In stoppage time, the Turkish bank received a red card.

Erdogan was on the field

For the Turks, the European Championship also ended on a bitter note on a sporting level after the political unrest over Demiral's controversial wolf salute celebration, which led to him being banned for two matches. They defied the pressure at the start and were the slightly better team for long periods. Their dream of reaching the semi-finals of the European Championship for the first time in 16 years was ruined by a lack of concentration in the final phase.

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Erdogan, who travelled to Berlin just to attend the match, wore a dark suit and red tie and watched the match with his wife Emine in the VIP box, with former Germany international Ozil sitting behind him. In front of them they could also see the number of Turkish fans who gave the wolf salute when the national anthem was played.

Political messages

Police had previously ended the fans' march to the stadium prematurely because Turkish fans were constantly making the wolf salute. The police wrote to the SMS service X that the fans' march was “not a platform for political messages”.

There was no European Championship match, UEFA decided and therefore banned Demiral. The 26-year-old showed the symbol of the “Grey Wolves” against Austria. This is what the supporters of the far-right “Ulkuku Movement” call it. All this made the high-stakes game even more heated.

Tricks, speed and goals

The Turks came into the game with a lot of defiance. “We will be more passionate and proud,” declared coach Vincenzo Montella, but at the same time he also asked his players: “We have to calm down.”

The opening phase showed how important this balance is. The Dutch attack with Cody Gakpo, Xavi Simons and Memphis Depay went at goal at great speed, but often looked too playful. The Turks defended with intensity and passion, and had more possession from the middle of the first half.

The danger also arose from set-pieces by Hakan Calhanoglu, who returned to lead the central midfield alongside Dortmund's Salih Özcan after a yellow card suspension. This is how it turned out: after a corner from the former Bundesliga pro, the ball reached Arda Güler, and the 19-year-old sent a specially designed cross to Akaydin's head. Demiral applauded and laughed in the stands, but refrained from making another provocative gesture.

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Air sovereignty over Weghhorst

Bond coach Koeman reacted at the end of the first half and brought on the super joker Wout Weghorst for the disappointing Steven Bergwijn. Weghorst, who had been loaned to Hoffenheim the previous season, also gave more impetus to the Oranje's attacking game. The Turks were now less aggressive and had a good chance to make it 2-0 thanks to a free-kick from Guler (56) and Kenan Yildiz (65). But then came the successful comeback of the Dutch, who were much better in the final phase. They held up the Turkish attack, with goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen in particular making the decisive difference.

(dpa/APA)

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