Saturday, July 13, 2024

Montella praises Turkiye´s soul and belief shown in Austria triumph

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Jul 2024

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Vincenzo Montella praised Turkiye’s soul and belief following their victory over Austria in Leipzig on Tuesday.

Montella watched on as his side won 2-1 against Ralf Rangnick’s side, surviving a late onslaught from their opponents.

However, Merih Demiral’s double ensured Turkiye progressed to the quarter-finals of the European Championships for the first time since 2008.

“No one gave up,” Montella said. “Everyone gave a bit extra in terms of their soul, and for a head coach, you know that there are matches such as these and you can only win matches such as these if there is a soul within the squad.

“There’s that belief, that conviction. I could go on all night, but I saw all of those attributes, and that makes me very proud.”

However, the result could have been so much different if it was not for the fingertips of Mert Gunok.

With the game ticking towards the fourth and final minute of injury time, Christoph Baumgartner saw his header brilliantly tipped behind by the Besiktas goalkeeper.

The triumph was of huge significance to the Turkiye head coach, having seen his side lose 6-1 to Austria in an international friendly back in March.

“That was a horrible stain on my career,” Montella said. “That was the team that I was really waiting for, to try and get this monkey off my back.

“So I respect Austria, I respect their head coach, I respect their game plan, the tactics that they implemented on the pitch. But we head coaches, just like footballers, are competitors.

“And I had that real competitive instinct deep within me because I wanted to change this result. It was only a friendly, but there’s no such thing as a friendly at international level.”

Montella’s side face the Netherlands in Berlin this Saturday for a place in the semi-finals and set up a potential tie against England.

“We’ve got huge following. There’s passion and the love is really visceral back home in Turkey, so I’m very happy to have handed Turks a bit of pride,” he said.

“So this responsibility, this love and support, we constantly feel it. But you can only really embrace these dreams if you work hard right from day one. We’ve done that right from the outset. We’ll really celebrate tonight, but as of tomorrow, we get down to work.”

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