It seemed for a long time on Monday evening that Turkey would again lose expensive points in the World Cup qualifiers, but Burak Yilmaz prevented a draw with Latvia (1-2) deep in injury time with a penalty.

National coach Stefan Kuntz is impressed by the way his team continued to work for the win.

"I was very happy to see how the players reacted when Latvia scored. A lot has been written and said lately about a lack of mentality and self-confidence in my team. The players have now shown that none of that is true," he said. Kuntz after the match in Riga according to the Turkish

Hürriyet

.

Turkey had to win to keep a serious eye on a ticket for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but it was certainly not easy.

Latvia even took the lead twenty minutes before the end with an own goal from Merih Demiral, although Serdar Dursun equalized six minutes later.

It was only in the ninth minute of injury time that the liberating goal fell for Turkey.

After intervention by the VAR, Yilmaz was allowed to score a penalty kick and he did not make a mistake of 11 meters, so that the Turks can still hope for World Cup participation.

There was great joy in the Turkish selection after Burak Yilmaz's liberating goal in stoppage time.

There was great joy in the Turkish selection after Burak Yilmaz's liberating goal in stoppage time.

Photo: EPA

'The team spirit is growing'

The hard-fought victory is especially a boost for national coach Kuntz, who succeeded the dismissed Senol Günes in September and has the assignment to guide Turkey to the World Cup after all.

The German made his debut on Friday with a 1-1 draw against Norway and slowly sees something change in his team.

"In any case, the team spirit is growing. I didn't see my players bow their heads, they continued to believe in victory. That this victory came about in a dramatic way makes it extra important. I see these three points as a reward for the Turkish people," said Kuntz.

With two games to go, Turkey, which lost 6-1 to Orange last month, is in third place in group G. Only the number one in the group qualifies directly for the World Cup in Qatar and the number two goes to the playoffs.

Group G . position

  • 1. Netherlands 8-19 (29-6)

  • 2. Norway 8-17 (14-6)

  • 3. Turkey 8-15 (19-15)

  • 4. Montenegro 8-11 (11-10)

  • 5. Latvia 8-6 (8-12)

  • 6. Gibraltar 8-0 (3-34)

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