It was a touching scene as a weeping Hilal Baskol sought solace with her team-mates after Turkey lost 3-2 to Chile in their semi-final clash.
Having established her reputation as a set-piece specialist in the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament, the Turkey No7 had entered the decisive encounter full of confidence. And she stated her intent just ten minutes in when she rattled a free-kick against the near post.
Chile had taken an unlikely 2-0 lead by the mid-way point of the opening half, capitalising on some defensive errors by Turkey, before the midfielder displayed a touch of genius to claw her side back into the game, unleashing a powerful free-kick which sailed past the Chile goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Inspired by this, just three minutes later Turkey drew level, with Dilan Akarsu volleying home a Umran Ozev cut-back to send them into the break at 2-2.
The lively playmaker continued to shine after the interval, causing constant problems in the Chile box with her accurate passing and powerful shots. Baskol was denied by the woodwork in the closing stages but, having rode their luck for some time, it was the Chileans that had the final say of the match, with Maria Navarrete slotting home deep into the injury time to seal a hard-fought victory.
"We had prepared for the tournament for a long time and we wanted so much to return home as champions," Baskol told FIFA.com, with tears still in her eyes. "We played so well and came from behind to draw level, so it was too hard to lose the game in such a way."
The defeat was heart-breaking for Baskol, but she earned a huge amount of respect through her excellent display. The first to pay tribute to the Turkish prodigy was Chile midfielder Romina Orellana, whose dangerous corner-kick led to the winning goal.
"Turkey are a hard opponent and they played a good game despite the loss. And Baskol is obviously their best player of tonight," said the Chile playmaker, who has also been known for her sublime set-piece skills since scoring a wonderful free-kick against Equatorial Guinea in the last game. For her, the rivalry on the pitch can be friendship off the pitch.
"This is a short tournament, so Baskol and I don’t have too much time to chat together," she said. "But we can keep touch through Facebook after returning home."
After steering Chile to victory to set up a re-match with Equatorial Guinea in the final on Tuesday, Orellana is desperate to avenge her side's earlier 4-1 defeat to the Africans. "They are unquestionably talented players but we can counter their techniques with our teamwork and combination," she concluded. "We will take the game against them and I think we can defeat them this time."