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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK

Relieved Turks keep pledge

Turkey coach Senol Gunes said he was delighted that his team have reached the second phase of the World Cup for the first time.

Gunes' team narrowly lost their opening game against Brazil and drew their second match against Costa Rica - leaving their hopes of reaching the last 16 hanging by a thread.

" We are very happy we kept our promise to the Turkish nation "
Turkey coach Senol Gunes

But Turkey beat China 3-0 and Brazil thrashed Costa Rica 5-2 - leaving Turkey second in the Group C table and facing a match against the winner of Group H for a place in the last eight.

"We are very happy we kept our promise to the Turkish nation," said Gunes.

"Today we got a deserved victory.

"Particularly at the beginning of the game we controlled it and we played very well, scored the goals, created lots of chances and missed several chances.

Gunes said that his team were under considerable pressure going into the game.

"There were problems created by the big pressure on our players, especially after the game against Brazil and this pressure also affected us against China.

"Now we're relieved in every way and I think it's going to be better now.

"Obviously we're not going to select our opponents.

"It doesn't matter if it's Japan, Belgium or Russia. Of course playing against the host nation may be a little disadvantage.

"Right now we have qualified from the group stage. In the knockout stage we want to progress.

"But surely we will play better football than we have during the group stage."

Defender Bulent Korkmaz, scorer of Turkey's second goal, refused to be drawn on how far his team might progress.

"We'll see. We will try to go as far as we can," said Korkmaz.

"We started well and found the goals. We are extremely happy. We knew that, whatever the result of the other game, we had to win this one."


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