Ankara: Turkey beat world champions France 2-0 on Saturday to lead Group H in Euro 2020 qualifiers, moving forward in its target to join the next European championship.
France faced a rejuvenated Turkish squad under returning coach Senol Gunes at Konya Torku Arena in central Turkey, and the hosts took early control of the match and scored two goals in halftime by Cengiz Under and Kaan Ayhan.
Former Turkish goalkeeper Gunes took the reins of the national team for a second time to pick up a side mired in a slump that saw them fail to qualify for last year’s World Cup in Russia.
Since the return of the 67-year-old coach, who took Turkey to the third place in the 2002 World Cup during his first spell in charge, his team has won four from a possible four, including their opening two Euro qualifiers against Albania (2-0) and Moldova (4-0).
🇹🇷 A night to remember for Turkey! 🎉
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) June 8, 2019
Those two wins put them level on points with world champions France, who topped Group H on goal difference after hitting four past both Moldova and Iceland in their first pair of fixtures.
The match was the first true test for both sides in the group, which so far has offered France coach Didier Deschamps’ outfit little in the way of resistance.
It was also key for Gunes, even if his side already look good to qualify as one of the group’s top two, as he tries hard to rebuild support for the national team in Turkey after a bad run under Romanian predecessor Mircea Lucescu.