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Turkey edge into Euros last 16 with tense win over Czechs

Turkey progressed to the knockout phase of a major tournament for the first time in 16 years with a contentious 2-1 victory over a resilient 10-man Czech Republic at Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

Under Vincenzo Montella, Turkey secured second place in Group F behind Portugal, advancing while the Czechs were eliminated despite a valiant effort in Hamburg’s sweltering conditions.

“We deserve to celebrate tonight,” said Montella, “but from tomorrow, our focus shifts to continuing our journey of making history.”

Georgia also advanced as one of the best third-placed teams after stunning Portugal 2-0 in the group’s final match, knocking out Hungary.

Turkey now prepares to face Austria in the round of 16 in Leipzig, marking their first knockout match in a major tournament since their Euro 2008 semi-final defeat to Germany.

The Czechs suffered a setback early on when Antonin Barak received the quickest red card in Euros history in the 20th minute, surpassing a record set in 2008 by France’s Eric Abidal. Tomas Chory was also sent off after the final whistle in a heated conclusion that saw a total of 18 yellow cards.

Hakan Calhanoglu gave Turkey a lead in the 51st minute, but Tomas Soucek equalized midway through the second half. In added time, Cenk Tosun sealed Turkey’s victory on the counter-attack, dashing Czech hopes.

Post-match, emotions ran high with fans storming the pitch and Chory receiving a red card, reflecting the intensity of the encounter.

“We’re disappointed; everyone wanted to progress,” lamented Soucek. “It was incredibly tough with 10 men, and despite our efforts to level, we conceded late.”

Despite a spirited start by the Czechs, Turkey capitalized on their numerical advantage to secure their spot in the next stage of the tournament.

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