Euro 2008: Fenerbahce's PerspectiveCommentary • Author: Özgür R. Nazilli • Monday, July 7, 2008
Euro 08, the biggest European competition, ended a week ago, but it still takes up considerable space in the sports news. Spain dominated and won the tournament, but it is a generally accepted fact that Turkey was the most exciting team of the tournament. With a surprise semi-final qualification that came through 3 wins (2 in the group stages, one in the quarter finals), all of which came with last minute goals, the Turkish National Team had no boring games. So, how did this tournament of the best of the best in Europe affect Fenerbahce?
The Yellow Canaries had five representatives (Volkan Demirel, Semih, Kazim Kazim Richards, Ugur Boral and Mehmet Aurelio) with the team. It would have been six, but Gokhan Gonul was injured during the training camp and had to leave the National Team. Of these five representatives, all of them with the exception of Ugur Boral played big minutes, and also had pivotal roles in the successful Euro 08 campaign. Let us look at them in detail:
Volkan Demirel: He was the last man standing in the first three games. Especially in the Portugal match, Volkan and the posts were the only things standing between the Portuguese team and a 5-0 or 6-0 score. However, all of the positive stuff he did in the first three games were negated by one moment of anger, which caused him to push Koller and earn a red card. However, despite this irresponsable act, Volkan was a driving force for the National Team that helped them secure the second place in their group.
Aurelio: Mehmet Aurelio was the main defensive pillar in the National Team, and he worked tirelessly to stop the opposition attacks. Even though he did not score in the competition, he did not have to, since his is a position of defence (hence the name "defensive midfielder"). His performances earned him European recognition, and his name is still a media favorite for the transfer rumours.
Kazim Kazim: He was the best player (although some may say "best of the worst") for Turkey in the first game against Portugal. His cool manners helped him stay calm and through this calmness his presence became a threat to the opposition. Even though he did not score, he helped his team with his runs through the right wing and had a performance that showed no sign of the fact that this was his first major tournament and he is only 21 years old.
Semih Senturk: The top scorer of the 2007/2008 Turkish League repeated his success and also became the top scorer of the Turkish National Team in Euro 2008, and finished the competition just one goal behind the tournament's top scorer, David Villa. Therefore, not many people can refute the fact that Semih was one of the most important actors behind Turkey's Euro 08 success.
Based on the above picture, we can easily say that Euro 08 went well for the current Fenerbahce players. There is also another aspect of the competition that also concerns Fenerbahce: The newcomers.
As we all know, Luis Aragones' success in the Euro 08 played an important part in him becoming the next manager of Fenerbahce. Even though the veteran coach's career is not full of trophies, he has managed many important teams and his last success with Spain proves that he is an able coach. Still, it remains to be seen what he can do in the tough atmosphere of the Turkish football.
Finally, there is the issue of the striker. Fenerbahce fans have known for a long time now that Fener would be signing a quality foreign striker for the next season. While there have been countless names flying around in the media, no one knew for sure. Nowadays, most people agree that Dani Güiza, La Liga 2007/2008 top scorer, will be that name. Here as well, the fact that Güiza was chosen for the Spanish National Team and got some significant play time from Aragones, which led him to score 2 goals, most likely helped him become the future striker of Fenerbahce. However, we here in Fenerbahce Worldwide do not like to talk about uncertain signings, so we will push off our analysis until Güiza's name is announced at the official website.
So here it is friends. Another European Championship has gone by, and it was certainly fruitful for Fenerbahce. Fener players emerged as more experienced players from the competition, as well as proving their quality through some strong performances in the tournament. Also, Fenerbahce found its next coach (and possibly its next striker) through the aforementioned competition. The question whether these new names were the right ones remains to be seen, and we will get the first indications of this in less than a month with the Champions League qualifiers.
We can say one thing for sure: Aragones has some very big shoes to fill, and he certainly has the experience to do so.