Turkey tackle Dutch in Euros quarter-final, England face Swiss

Turkey tackle Dutch in Euros quarter-final, England face Swiss

Turkey face the Netherlands in a Euro 2024 quarter-final on Saturday whose lead-up has been dominated by a diplomatic row between the Turks and Germany.

In the other quarter-final, England aim to move a step closer to ending a 58-year wait to win a major tournament by beating Switzerland.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the match at Berlin’s Olympiastadion amidst a diplomatic row between his country and host nation Germany over a two-match ban handed to Turkey defender Merih Demiral.

The centre-back, who scored both Turkey’s goals in a 2-1 win over Austria in the last 16 on Tuesday, has been suspended by UEFA for celebrating with a gesture associated with Turkish right-wing extremist group Grey Wolves.

UEFA said in a statement it was banning Demiral “for violating the basic rules of decent conduct, for using sports events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature and for bringing the sport of football into disrepute”.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned “the symbols of Turkish right-wing extremists have no place in our stadiums”.

Turkey then summoned the German ambassador on Wednesday over politicians’ reactions to Demiral’s celebration.

Turkey’s Sports Minister Osman Askin Bak claimed the ban “has no legal basis and that we consider it to be purely political”.

Erdogan himself has said Demiral was just “showing his excitement” and several ministers and the spokesman of his ruling AKP party have condemned Faeser’s reaction.

Turkey will be roared on by tens of thousands of fans who have turned all of their matches, in an unexpected run to the last eight, into a mass of red and white in stadiums around the country.

Germany is home to nearly three million people with Turkish roots.

Vincenzo Montella’s men will try to ride that support to reach the semi-finals of a European Championship for just the second time.

The Dutch are the favourites to make the last four for the first time since Euro 2004.

Ronald Koeman’s side disappointed in the group stage as they only qualified thanks to being one of the best third-placed teams.

But they hit their stride in the last 16 with a 3-0 win over Romania and have the joint top goalscorer in the tournament in Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo.

Bellingham free to play
The winner of the clash in Berlin will face either England or Switzerland in Wednesday’s semi-final in Dortmund.

England boss Gareth Southgate rounded on suggestions the Three Lions had been handed an easier path to the final as “entitlement” from the media in his homeland.

Despite reaching the quarter-finals for the fourth consecutive major tournament under Southgate, England have so far failed to live up to their hype as one of the favourites for the competition in a string of poor performances.

They needed a moment of Jude Bellingham brilliance in the dying seconds to sneak past Slovakia after extra-time in the last 16 and face a step up in class against the Swiss in Dusseldorf.

Bellingham has been cleared to play after the Real Madrid midfielder received just a 30,000 euro ($32,477) fine and a one-match suspended ban for mimicking a crotch grab after scoring against Slovakia.

Switzerland dumped out holders Italy 2-0 in the previous round and also held Germany 1-1 in the group stages.

Spain will face France in Tuesday’s semi-final in Munich after two dramatic quarter-finals on Friday.

The hosts suffered a heartbreaking defeat as Mikel Merino’s header in the final minute of extra-time handed Spain a 2-1 win over Germany.

France beat Portugal on penalties after a 0-0 draw that could bring the curtain down on Cristiano Ronaldo’s illustrious international career.