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Turkey sneak through as best third-placed team

Selçuk İnan's late free-kick against Iceland and Kazakhstan's win in Latvia means Turkey, who reached the last four in 2008, are heading for the UEFA European Championship again.

Turkey midfielder Arda Turan kneels on the pitch, overcome by disbelief
Turkey midfielder Arda Turan kneels on the pitch, overcome by disbelief ©AFP/Getty Images

The evening of 13 October 2015 will live long in the memory of Turkey supporters after Fatih Terim's team dramatically qualified for next summer's UEFA European Championship finals.

Turkey needed to defeat Group A leaders Iceland and hope Kazakhstan could prevail in Latvia, a combination of results that would send them to France as the best third-placed side.

Nerves were frayed as news filtered through that Islambek Kuat had put Kazakhstan ahead, but that was set to count for little until Selçuk İnan curled in a free-kick with a minute remaining. Cue bedlam at the Konya Büyükşehir Belediyesi Stadyumu.

A late surge in Group A, which included a 3-0 victory against the Netherlands and a 2-0 success in the Czech Republic on Saturday, gave the 2008 semi-finalists hope. Selçuk's late piece of magic, and a helping hand from Kazakhstan, means the Crescent-Stars can dream of more great nights at UEFA EURO 2016. 

Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Turkey midfielder
I am really happy to have qualified – we deserved it. We have reached the next level as a team in the last four or five games. Tonight we remained calm and kept our nerves.

We all had our mobile phones with us and looked for the Kazakhstan result and waited until their game was finished. I had to hold back the tears. This is the first time I will take part in [a major tournament] as a Turkey player. I am really proud of my team and my country.

Key stats
Best result: Semi-finals (2008)
Coach: Fatih Terim
Leading scorers: all-time – Hakan Şükür (51); current – Burak Yılmaz (19)
Most appearances: all-time – Rüştü Reçber (120); current – Emre Belözoğlu (94)

Record EURO appearances
Overall: Hakan Şükür (38)
Final tournament: Rüştü Reçber (9)

Record EURO goals
Overall: Hakan Şükür (21)
Final tournament: Semih Şentürk (3)