Cenk Şahin believes luck has not been on Turkey's side at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship and describes a farewell victory against Georgia as "the only option" for Okan Buruk's team.
Defeats by Serbia and France have ended Turkish hopes of a first U19 semi-final appearance since 2004, yet according to Cenk, things could easily have been different. "We're having a really unlucky tournament," the midfielder told UEFA.com. "We've played two good matches that we deserved to win. We were the better team but we've lost in the end. Of course, the result is the most important thing in football and we did our best but couldn't get it. We are sad."
Turkey have gone down 2-1 in both fixtures, in each case falling two goals behind before a late rally, and Cenk feels a failure to make their chances count has proved costly. "We've lacked the finishing touch," he explained. "We're a team and we needed to spot our missing pieces and improve on them. We played some good attacking football but failed to reflect this on the scoreboard. I hope we can correct that and be successful in future tournaments."
Cenk has been one of Turkey's brighter performers in Lithuania, his crosses from the flanks a regular source of promise, but that is scant consolation for the İstanbul BB SK winger. "We're playing for the national team and we knew that we needed to showcase all our talents," he said. "Personally I've done my utmost but we've lost, so we're disappointed."
There is one last opportunity for Turkey at these finals as they seek to close their campaign in positive fashion against Georgia on Friday, when a win would leave them third in Group B. Cenk is only too aware of what lessons Turkey will take away from the tournament – ruefully noting, "We've learned that we need to pick up points" – but is hopeful of finishing on a high note.
"Every point is important and I hope this becomes a good experience for us," he pointed out. "I hope we win the last game and go home with three points.
Our only goal is winning. There's no other choice. Winning is the only option."
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