Yilmaz urges ‘broken’ Turkey to bounce back against Wales


Baku (AFP) – Turkey captain Burak Yilmaz urged his team-mates to shake off a heavy defeat by Italy in the Euro 2020 opener and use the strong local support in Baku to their favour against Wales on Wednesday.

The Crescent Stars take on Wales in their second Group A game after a poor display in a 3-0 loss in Rome last Friday.

Turkey had just three shots on target against Italy, as Yilmaz was kept in check after he scored 18 goals in all competitions this season for French champions Lille.

“For two days following the game we were very fragile, we were very broken. We were really tired and negative,” Yilmaz said on Tuesday. 

“The coach had effective meetings with us. And then we started to feel better and we started to get back to normal.”

Turkey need to avoid defeat against Wales if they are to keep their hopes alive of reaching the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 2008.

They will be able to count on up to 4,000 travelling fans in Baku as well as support from Azerbaijani locals, due to strong historical and cultural links between the two countries.

“I would like to extend my thanks to Azerbaijani citizens. They are our friends, our brothers. From the first day they have made us feel this,” the 35-year-old Yilmaz said.

“In Italy we were 100 percent away, from the entrance to the exit of the stadium. Tomorrow I hope we will be at home.

“It will be like a host city for us. With the help of the country we want to win this game.”

Turkey coach Senol Gunes said defenders Caglar Soyuncu and Umut Meras are fit to face Wales despite missing training.

Leicester centre-back Soyuncu and Le Havre left-back Meras were absent from Sunday’s session as they received treatment for unspecified injuries.

“Those two players had little injuries but we don’t have any players with injuries,” Gunes said.

“These two players did not train, but all the players and the group are good and they are sound.

“They are mentally ready and they will do their best on the pitch tomorrow.”

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