Turkey are still reeling from being held in Malta on Saturday night - and have asked for their fans' backing to end their current slump against Hungary on Wednesday in Istanbul.
Twice the visitors trailed at the Ta' Qali Stadium and the 2-2 draw was the first time Malta had ever taken competitive points off Turkey at any level. A win would have kept Turkey alongside Norway in second place in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group C and taken them to within two points of leaders Greece; as it is victory is now paramount against resurgent Hungary, who beat Bosnia-Herzegovina at the weekend having shocked Italy in a friendly last month.
Coach Fatih Terim said: "We were shocked. If you don't put your heart into the game like your opponents, your game plan will collapse. Now we need extra motivation from our supporters on Wednesday because we must win the Hungary game. There is no need to find an excuse. If there is a fault, it is mine, not my players'." Captain Hakan Şükür added: "It wasn't a difficult game and there is nothing to say but sorry about the result. We will compensate for these missing points on Wednesday."
Having won their opening four group matches, Turkey have now drawn with Norway and Malta and lost to Bosnia-Herzegovina in their most recent three fixtures - and they needed late equalisers for those two points. Emre Belözoğlu said: "In the last three games we have given seven vital points to our opponents. Hungary will be the most important game for our future in the group."
However, the midfielder is one of several injury problems for Terim. Right-back Sabri Sarıoğlu and midfielder Arda Turan have both withdrawn to add to the previous absences of goalkeeper Volkan Demirel and defender Gökhan Zan. Centre-back Emre Aşık has been called up, and team doctor Cengiz Dinç said: "Hamit Altıntop, Ayhan Akman and Emre Belözoğlu all have knee problems. We will continue our treatment but Hamit's situation is worse than the others." Terim's injury concerns increased late on Tuesday when Fenerbahçe SK midfielder Deniz Barış was forced out of the squad to face Hungary because of a groin injury. Terim did not call up a replacement.
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