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Turkey reach playoffs to keep Euro 2012 hopes alive

(Xinhua)

16:41, October 12, 2011

ISTANBUL, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- A 1-0 win against Azerbaijan on Tuesday was enough to see Turkey finish second in Group A of the Euro 2012 qualifiers and earn a spot in the playoffs.

Although the Turkish national football side enjoyed most of the possession during the game at the Turk Telekom Arena in Turkey's largest city Istanbul and was camped in the opposition half most of the time, unimaginative buildup play meant no clear-cut chances were created.

At the start of the final round of group matches, Turkey needed to better whatever result Belgium attained against Germany, who had already qualified as group winners, in the other group game to ensure second place and went in at half time knowing the Belgians were trailing 2-0.

Turkey stepped up its attacking play in the second half and the only goal of the game came in the 60th minute when Turkish forward Burak Yilmaz slotted home. Germany beat Belgium 3-1 in the other game.

The results of the final day saw Germany clinch the group with a maximum 30 points while Turkey finished second with 17 points and Belgium came third with 15 points.

Austria and Kazakhstan made up the other teams in Group A. The playoffs, which will determine the final four available spots, are a two-legged fixture with the winner proceeding to the finals of Euro 2012 to be co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland. The draw for the playoffs will be made on Oct. 13.


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