Euro 2024: Memories of 2008 spurring Turkey, midfielder Kökçü says

Midfielder Orkun Kökçü said Turkey's run to the semi-finals at Euro 2008 created childhood memories spurring the current team.

Turkey's starting XI pose before the Round of 16 Austria match on July 2 (REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen)


Turkey's 2008 run to the semi-finals of the European Championship created childhood memories that are spurring the current crop of players in Germany, midfielder Orkun Kökçü said.

The Turks beat Austria 2-1 in a thrilling encounter on July 2 to advance to the quarter-finals, echoing a fabled run to the last four in 2008 that inspired a generation.

"I was only seven years old in 2008 but I remember the matches very well. My brother and I would daydream while watching the matches with our family," Kökçü told reporters.

"After winning the matches... we would get together and celebrate. It is (a) very proud (feeling) to see the same images on the internet now," he added.

That 2008 side lost their opener to Portugal and went on to beat Switzerland and the Czech Republic in the group stage and Croatia on penalties in the last 16 before falling to Germany and a late Philipp Lahm goal in the semi-finals.

After losing 6-1 to Austria in a friendly in March, and with captain Hakan Çalhanoğlu suspended, few expected Turkey to win on Tuesday, but two goals from corners by Merih Demiral and an astounding stoppage-time save by Mert Günok saw them safely through to the quarter-finals.

"It was a very good match. We talked about this with Mert before the match. We wanted to take revenge on Austria, and scoring an early goal motivated us," Kökçü said.

Boasting a large population of Turks, Germany's city streets were full of flag-waving fans and cars honking their horns into the early hours, celebrating their side setting up a last-eight clash with the Netherlands in Berlin on Saturday.

Unfortunately for Kökçü, he picked up a second yellow card and will miss the game against the Dutch.

"I've been suspended (but) I'll help the team from the outside," he said.