Turkey have set up a last-16 duel with France after securing a hard-fought 2-1 win over Australia, who crashed out in battling fashion. Paul Okon's side were the better side for much of this Group C encounter but having led through Jamie MacLaren, they were pegged back by a stunning equaliser from Hakan Calhanoglu and had their hearts broken by a equally impressive winning goal from Okay Yokuslu.
The first half was a forgettable affair of few chances, with the home crowd silent in the absence of any great encouragement from their favourites. Australia, in fact, had the better of the opportunities, with Aykut Ozer forced into a brilliant save low to his left to prevent Ryan Williams breaking the deadlock after 16 minutes.
The Young Socceroos only had themselves to blame for the score remaining blank seven minutes later though, with Corey Gameiro missing a gilt-edged chance. Played clean through, the Wellington Phoenix forward – so prolific during qualifying – had time and space to pick his spot but side-footed wide of the right-hand post from 14 yards.
However, Australia continued to carve out opportunities in the second half, and with 52 minutes gone they got the goal their enterprise deserved. Williams did well down the right and when his low cross arrived in the area, MacLaren provided an emphatic finish, smashing a terrific first-time shot high into the net from 16 yards.
Turkey could have no complaints at this stage but, to their credit, they provided a swift response. Within two minutes, parity was restored, and in some style, as Calhanoglu spun at the right-hand edge of the box and crashed an unstoppable right-foot shot in off the inside of the far post. The goal seemed to enliven the hosts and only a superb tip-over by Paul Izzo prevented Cenk Sahin from putting them in front after the erstwhile subdued winger had jinked in from the right and curled in a left-foot shot.
The Aussies surged forward in search of a goal that would keep them in the tournament but their efforts were in vain. Salt was even rubbed into their wounds with three minutes remaining when Okay Yokuslu scored a gorgeous winner, measuring a beautifully judged chip over the stranded Izzo from 25 yards.
Turkey, having been made to battle for their win, now march on to a showdown with Les Bleuets in Gaziantep on Wednesday, with Colombia having made sure of top spot in Group C with their comfortable 3-0 win over El Salvador.