Turkey took revenge on Brazil for knocking them out of the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ with a 2-2 draw at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint Etienne on 23 June. The result means the Turks secured second place in Group B on goal difference ahead of the South Americans. A mouthwatering all-European clash with France now awaits on Thursday.
Tactically out of sorts in their two previous outings, it was immediately apparent that the Seleçao had at last got to grips with their system. They looked brighter right from the off and could have scored as early as the sixth minute when Atlético Paranaense pair Kléberson and Ilan combined brilliantly. The former escaped down the right and whipped in a brilliant ball for his club and country team-mate to thunder a header onto the post (6'). Moments later, Turkish keeper Rustu rashly charged out of his goal, nearly upending Ronaldinho in the process, and could only watch as the Brazilian playmaker rolled the ball to Adriano. Just as the Parma man seemed destined to slot the ball home, Bulent Korkmaz came to the Europeans’ rescue with a brilliant clearance off the line.
Adriano, however, made amends for his miss soon after. Chesting down a long ball from Lucio, he raced into the box and expertly lifted the ball over the advancing Rustu. Korkmaz and Alpay Ozalan dashed after the ball in a desperate attempt to hook clear but only succeeded in following the ball into the net (1:0, 23'). Dida, meanwhile, observed proceedings from afar, content to sit back and enjoy the show as Brazil dominated the rest of the half without creating any more clear-cut chances.
How things would change in the second half. From bit-part actor, Dida was about to play a leading role as Turkey came out transformed in the second period. As if suddenly conscious of the gravity of their situation, they tore into the Brazilians, forcing them back and making things happen. Gokdeniz Karadeniz was first to threaten, rifling a piledriver just wide (52'). Then, the Trabzonspor midfielder sprang the Brazilian offside trap and lobbed the bouncing ball over Dida just as Adriano had done in the first half (1:1, 59'). Stirred and just a little shaken for a while, Brazil rallied and laid siege to the Turkish goal for the last twenty minutes. The Turks, only too well aware the draw would see them through, were content to sit back and wait for the chance to launch a counter attack. Maurinho then had a great chance but shotstopper extraordinaire Rustu flung his body in the way (73').
Then Turkey produced their sucker punch. As the Brazil defenders pushed up, Basturk was sent clear on goal. Showing all the experience and level-headedness that are so characteristic of his game, the little man drew Dida and slid the ball sideways for the onrushing Okan Yilmaz to poke the ball home (1:2, 80’).
Brazil, knowing they now needed two goals to qualify, responded by surging forward with ever-increasing desperation. Alex finally grabbed a well-deserved equaliser deep into injury time, dancing through to the edge of the box and whipping a vicious low drive past Recber (2:2, 93’).
As Ronaldinho excitedly rushed to retrieve the ball from the Turkish keeper he got involved in a fracas that ended with a second yellow card and a not-so-early bath. The Brazilian superstar hardly had time to trudge from the field before the final whistle blew, and the Turks were through to face France in the semi-final. Brazil are out, but if they had played like this earlier in the tournament their fate would surely have been different.