Turkey showed they could perform in the wet when they began UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group B with a 3-1 win against Greece and captain Artun Akçakin puts it all down to preparation.
On a rainy evening in Eschen-Mauren, Turkey led at half-time and Artun doubled the advantage on the hour. Greece immediately pulled one back with a penalty but the Gençlerbirliği SK forward made certain of victory from the spot in added time. Conditions were not ideal but Artun said that they were ready for anything after a week-long pre-tournament training camp in Switzerland.
"It was helpful to be in a training camp," Artun told UEFA.com. "The players have become great friends and we act as a team. We had a friendly against Switzerland, we lost but it was helpful for us as we saw what we were doing wrong. Now we can see the results with our victory. We got used to the conditions and the weather, the camp was useful for that too."
As for the match itself, Artun was happy with the performance, except for when they allowed Greece back into the game. "We started very well, at a high tempo," he said. "But after going 2-0 up we sat back, and we shouldn't have done. We lost a bit of concentration. We gave them a chance they shouldn't have got and they scored. [Before the penalty] I felt a bit of pressure at first, but then I just relaxed and scored."
Artun's team were helped by very vocal support from the Sportpark Eschen-Mauren stands and the captain said: "We are so grateful to the supporters that came to back us. They saw our win and we sent them home smiling."
On Friday they hope to make the smiles wider by beating the Czech Republic and possibly sealing a semi-final place. Artun is confident they can. "We know what we are doing and what we are capable of," he said. "
We know the next game is very important as well and we are not relaxing. We are going to play well – and we are going to win."
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