2010701_w2“Despite the first goal, we could have coped with the situation, but the wind totally threw us off balance,” said coach Fatih Terim, after Turkey’s humiliating loss in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers against Iceland, a few weeks ago. Furthermore, he pledged to drop the “so-called” stars of the team because of their lack of will. Turkey’s “top-rated” football columnists were also aligned with this statement of his, which was the reason behind this catastrophic result. Catastrophic, from a Turkish point of view. However, interestingly, none of them argue about Fatih Terim’s failed strategy and tactics.

Apparently, the elders of Turkish football community have no interest in a systematic approach to football. Their negligence display the fake infatuation of Turkish football and its fake obsession with individual talents. Nonetheless, contemporary European football is driven by a different paradigm – a coach-based approach. Since the invention of total football, Europe has changed its perception of the most crucial element of the game. It was widely believed that players individually could change the course of the game, that was until the mid-90s. When Johan Cruyff introduced his concept of totalfootball via “Catalan-ish tiki-taka,” a new era had started. Today, the pure version of the game is only accepted when strategies and tactics are combined by coaches and eventually performed by the players.

However, even the most iconic figure of Turkish football, Fatih Terim, seemingly has no idea on how to strategically take the team forward which would result in a successful future of the national team. First of all, Terim and former players, who are now involved the very media that drives the Turkish game, should acknowledge the need of a change. Since football is a team game, it demands that an organization must expect effortless participation from all the members of the team, that step on to the pitch.

The main question, which remains to be answered, is the manner in which the players control and use the field. At this point, classical position assumptions (such as defender, midfielder, etc.) have no functionality, to a certain extent. A player should be able to satisfy “the requirements of the game” and be able to adapt to literally every position on the pitch. Only a few exist who are capable of doing so in today’s game. Tactics can vary when it comes to scoring goals, but the most valuable ones are those that can be repeated and remain consistent. If a tactic is repeatable, it means it is systematically shaped and convenient for your strategy.

The second most important element is dominating ball possession. The need for those who can keep possession and have a stronger level of confidence on the ball is core to a team’s performance, it is of great importance especially in a team with players that lose the ball quite often, due to reckless moves, such as, selfish dribbling, rushed individual attacks or long balls.

The best way to create a mature offensive game is by moving your “back” players forward (‘back player’ is a much more appropriate term than defender). This move will not only press your opponent to remain in their half while increasing the chance of scoring a goal on the offensive end.

Unfortunately, Turkish football is far from perceiving football this way. If Fatih Terim and Turkish football authorities want to qualify for the European Championship, they must accept this criticism and work towards implementing changes without disrupting the little of what remains as dressing room morale.2010701_w2


1 Comment

  1. Terim said that some of his senior players didn’t try hard enough, and based on the performance thats a fair comment. I guess any idiot can write for this publication and call himself an expert. And what’s with the fascist insinuating picture?

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