Tuncay Şanlı says a lot has changed since Turkey last met Switzerland, but he will be hoping for a repeat of his own performance in that game, if not the result.
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Tuncay Şanlı says a lot has changed in the three years since Turkey last met Switzerland, but he will be hoping for a repeat of his own personal performance in that game, if not the ultimate result.
The match in question was the second leg of the play-off for a 2006 FIFA World Cup spot, and despite Tuncay scoring a hat-trick in a 4-2 home win, Turkey were edged out on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate draw. Unlike that game, this encounter is being held in Switzerland and the 26-year-old also sees other differences ahead of the Group A match, which both teams begin having lost on Saturday. "There are certainly some changes in both squads," Tuncay said. "I think they will try and maximise their advantage of being the host team. If you listen to what they are saying about the game, they will be really up for it. But the most important thing for us is our capabilities."
Tuncay is playing in his first major tournament and feels comfortable in the starting XI now even if he was disappointed by his display in the opening defeat by Portugal. "In the first game against Portugal, there wasn't any pressure on me," he said. "I am on the pitch only to win and to perform my in my normal way. However, I couldn't give my all in the opening game." The Middlesbrough FC striker has just spent his first season in the English Premier League and believes the experience has helped his all-round game. "There is a different mentality and atmosphere in England. They play faster and in only one year I learned so many things even though at first it was difficult to adapt. But now we are at the European Championship – we cannot compare the standards of this kind of tournament and a whole season."
The former Fenerbahçe SK forward has scored 15 goals in 55 international appearances and was a mainstay of the qualification campaign, only missing one game. He says he has now completely recovered from a back muscle injury that was troubling him last week and is looking forward to Turkey's potentially pivotal encounter with the co-hosts. And even though he insists the most recent meeting with Switzerland will have no bearing on the result of this game, coach Fatih Terim will not be the only Turkish observer who hopes Tuncay can reproduce the goals of three years ago in Basel.