Merih Demiral double sends Turkey into EURO quarter-finals

UEFA Euro 2024 – Last 16

Austria………….1

Turkey……………2

In a night filled with intense drama, Turkey narrowly defeated Austria 2-1 to advance to the quarter-finals for the third time. This marks Turkey’s first major tournament quarter-final appearance in 16 years, driven by an inspiring performance from Merih Demiral that secured their place in the last eight of UEFA EURO 2024. The evening began with the fastest goal ever in a EURO knockout match and concluded with unrelenting excitement.

Austria is known for their rapid starts, according to Christoph Baumgartner, but it was Turkey who burst out of the gates this time. Austria failed to clear the ball from the game’s first corner, and within just 57 seconds, Merih Demiral scored.

Baumgartner soon had a shot that went just wide, and then, within the first five minutes, Austria nearly scored from a corner of their own. Arda Güler tried his luck from the halfway line, showing confidence was high, before Merih Demiral headed over from another set piece. Austria eventually found their rhythm and almost equalised when Baumgartner narrowly missed connecting with Romano Schmid’s cross.

Ralf Rangnick’s double substitution at half-time led to a noticeable increase in energy levels, so it was no shock when, five minutes later, Marko Arnautović came closest yet to equalising, only for Mert Günok to block his shot.

Türkiye found themselves under immense pressure, but the defence was bolstered by the roaring support behind Mert Günok’s goal. Gradually, they weathered the storm and pushed back into the opponent’s half. Another corner, another delivery from Arda Güler, another header from Merih Demiral. This time, it found the back of the net.

However, Austria was not finished; half-time substitute Michael Gregoritsch converted Stefan Posch’s flick-on at the far post – another goal from a corner.

The noise was overwhelming, the tension almost unbearable, and the rain unceasing, creating unmatched drama. Türkiye held firm – but only after Mert Günok’s remarkable 95th-minute save to deny Baumgartner’s header. What a match. And breathe.

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Line-ups

Austria: Pentz; Posch, Danso, Lienhart (Wöber 64), Mwene (Prass 46); Seiwald, Sabitzer; Laimer (Grillitsch 64), Baumgartner, Schmid (Gregoritsch 46); Arnautović

Türkiye: Mert Günok; Mert Müldür, Abdülkerim Bardakcı, Merih Demiral, Ferdi Kadıoğlu; İsmail Yüksek (Salih Özcan 58), Kaan Ayhan; Barış Alper Yılmaz, Orkun Kökçü (İrfan Can Kahveci 83), Kenan Yıldız (Kerem Aktürkoğlu 78); Arda Güler (Okay Yokuşlu 78)

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