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Monday, 19 June, 2000, 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK
Turkish coach hails historic win
Belgium v Turkey
Sukur punch: The Turkish ace celebrates a vital brace
Turkey coach Mustafa Denizli has described his side's win over Belgium as the greatest achievement in his country's footballing history.

A brace of goals from Hakan Sukur secured the Turks a shock 2-0 win in Brussels which saw them snatch second place in Group B and a quarter-final place from the co-hosts.

"This is a great gift for the whole of Turkey, a victory for the whole Turkish nation," a delighted Denizli said after the match.



This is the best achievement in 77 years of Turkish soccer history

Turkey coach Mustafa Denizli

"This is the best achievement in 77 years of Turkish soccer history."

He also had strong words for those who had been so damning in their criticism of him and his team.

"Those who criticised the team and myself forgot we had an open return ticket home.

"Now we will start looking for a way to get to the semi-final. I've received thousands of faxes and e-mails from Turkey supporting me."

Hakan Sukur, who scored both goals, was also thrilled with the result.

"Our first two matches were not very good but this was a good match for us. We responded perfectly to what had gone before," he explained.


Belgium v Turkey
Denizli: Our greatest ever achievement
As for Turkey's next opponents Portugal, who beat them in Euro 96, the striker added: "We must play more cleverly, we must think ahead to the semifinal and then to the final.

Belgium coach Robert Waseige meanwhile admitted that defensive blunders had cost his country a place in the last eight - but insisted his side should have won.

"We made mistakes for both goals but we played the better game," he said.

Waseige also refused to blame goalkeeper Filip de Wilde, who was outjumped by Hakan Sukur for the first goal just before halftime.

"De Wilde played very well until the first goal and I wouldn't blame him for the goal either.

"The defence should have dealt with the ball before it bounced.

"That's football. You have to know how to win and lose."

Bad mistakes

But De Wilde himself was almost inconsolable after his blunder.

"We are deeply disappointed and for me personally it's terrible. Two bad mistakes in three games at this level is way too many," he said.

He also agreed that he was correctly dismissed for a foul outside the penalty box on Arif.

"It was my intention to play the ball. I wanted to head it but couldn't reach it so as a reflex I stuck out my arm. The red card was deserved."

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See also:

19 Jun 00 | Euro2000
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19 Jun 00 | Euro2000
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