Turkey boss Senol Gunes admitted his team "were not good enough" after a desperate Euro 2020 campaign ended with a third straight group-stage defeat.

Having already lost to Italy and Wales in their opening two fixtures, Turkey crashed out without a single point to their name as they were beaten 3-1 by Switzerland on Sunday.

Speaking after the match, Gunes shared his belief that Turkey never recovered from a 3-0 defeat to Italy first up, though he insisted his young squad will be capable of delivering in future tournaments.

He said: "We are aware that we were not good enough. The first match had such a negative effect on my players. That can happen.

"But those players will play for Turkey for many years and they will succeed like before."

Turkey's squad was among the youngest in the tournament, and Milan playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu echoed the sentiments of his manager 

"This tournament was such a disappointment for us. We have to learn from our mistakes but we won't lower our heads," he said.

"This is a very young team and it will definitely get better."

After firing Lille to a shock Ligue 1 title success this season, Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz failed to find the back of the net in Euro 2020.

The 35-year-old suggested he and his countrymen have lessons to learn if they are to succeed at the top level.

He said: "We could not handle playing in such a big tournament, I have to admit.

"We've qualified for the Euros, we are going really well in World Cup qualification, but I can see that we need to learn how to play these tournaments.

"That's a lesson we have to learn."

Switzerland came into their meeting with Turkey knowing that only a win would give them any chance of progressing to the knockout stages, after also losing 3-0 to Italy and being held by Wales.

And they were dragged to all three points by Xherdan Shaqiri, who scored once in each half to keep his country's hopes alive.

Reflecting on the match, Shaqiri said: "It was very important to show a reaction after the game against Italy and be more unified as a team.

"We did that from the very beginning and played our game."

Despite their best efforts, Switzerland were only able to secure third place in the group as Wales kept hold of second place by only suffering a 1-0 defeat to Italy.

Now the Swiss face a nervous wait to see if they are able to progress as one of four best third-placed teams.

Shaqiri added: "We have to wait for the other games to see what's going to happen. We just to wait and hope it will be enough to reach the next round and then we will have to start again."

Turkey head coach Senol Gunes says his side "lost control of the game" after conceding the first goal in Friday's 3-0 loss to Italy in the opening game of Euro 2020.

The Crescent Stars defended well in the first half, playing a counter-attacking style, with the game goalless at the break.

Turkey added a bit more adventure in the second half, opening themselves up when Domenico Berardi's 53rd minute cutback deflected in off Merih Demiral.

Italy took complete control of the game from there, with further strikes from Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne.

"We started to lose the ball and couldn't get forward. Italy were better – we lost to the better team," Gunes said.

"They were more dominant than us, we lost the ball so many times and this just gave the advantage to our opponent.

"After we conceded the first goal we just really got distracted and lost control of the game."

The heavy defeat leaves Turkey with work to do in Group A, with Wales to play Switzerland on Saturday in the other group game.

Gunes can take comfort knowing that Turkey have lost their opening match at every major tournament they have entered (Euros and World Cup), losing seven out of seven, yet had some success in the past.

"I can say, technically speaking, we played a very strong Italian team," Gunes said. "I’m not very satisfied with the score. I was expecting better football here.

"But even if we lose or win, the competition will continue. We just lost against a host team and we have two more important games against Wales and Switzerland.

"We’ll tidy ourselves up and will start to prepare for those. Italy used the pitch very well, they just kept the ball and physically we fell from the game."

Turkey return to action on Wednesday in Baku against Wales.

Italy will hope their excellent record at the Stadio Olimpico can propel them towards Euro 2020 glory in Roberto Mancini's first tournament as coach, with a tricky test against Turkey first up for the competition's curtain-raiser on Friday.

It has been all change for Italy since their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with Mancini installed as Gian Piero Ventura's replacement and tasked with restoring the Azzurri's reputation.

What they hope will help is the fact all three of their group games – and a quarter-final – will be played at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, where they have never lost (W6 2D) in eight matches at major tournaments, while the Azzurri were one of just two teams along with Belgium to win all of their 10 qualifiers.

Of course, Italy wrapped up their qualifying campaign almost two years ago, with these finals pushed back 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Mancini has vowed to do the country proud after a difficult time as they look to claim a first European Championship since 1968.

In an open letter to fans, he wrote: "Sport in these moments is an essential tool of our life. It can help us feel better. Never before have we so badly needed it.

"Our national team is aware of representing a fantastic and determined people, and for this reason I, together with the staff and the guys who take the field, will use all the minutes of this event to honour the country that we represent.

"They will be moments of joy that will make us forget the past year for just a moment."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Italy – Jorginho

While he will not necessarily be the man tasked with putting the ball in the net, unless Italy get a penalty, Jorginho performs a crucial function for Italy. He was one of three players to record over 1,000 touches in qualifying and his role as a conduit in possession is essential to how Mancini's team play. If he has a difficult game, the chances are the Azzurri will struggle by extension.

Turkey – Hakan Calhanoglu

Although Italy will be favourites here, Turkey should not be underestimated. Possessing the youngest squad at the Euros, they are a vibrant and technically gifted bunch. Arguably encapsulating those traits better than anyone else in the team is Calhanoglu. The Milan midfielder offers almost guaranteed creativity, as evidenced by the fact he created the most chances in Serie A (98) in 2020-21, while his nine assists came from an xA (expected assists) value of 8.5, suggesting his haul was born out of consistency rather than luck.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Despite playing 38 games in the European Championship, Italy have never scored more than two goals in a match. They have also drawn more games than any other side in the tournament's history (16), while also taking part in the most goalless matches (eight).

- The Azzurri scored 37 goals in their 10 qualification matches (3.7 per game); this was the same tally as they scored in qualification for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup combined (37 goals in 22 games).

- Turkey conceded only three goals in 10 games in the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, the joint-best defensive record alongside Belgium.

- This will be Senol Gunes' second major tournament as Turkey head coach (World Cup/European Championships), 18 years after leading his nation to a third place at the 2002 World Cup, their best-ever performance in the competition.

- Turkey and Italy's only previous encounter in a major tournament was at Euro 2000, also on 11th June. It was their opening game of the tournament, ending 2-1 to Italy courtesy of goals from Antonio Conte and Filippo Inzaghi, the latter of whom netted a penalty. It was also in that game that Okan Buruk scored Turkey's first ever goal in the European Championship.

 

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