Czech Republic 1-2 Turkey: Czech fightback not enough as Turkey qualify for Euro 2024 last-16

Turkey qualified for the last-16 of Euro 2024 with a dramatic 2-1 win against ten-man Czech Republic.

Antonin Barak was controversially sent off in the first half but Turkey had to wait until after the break when captain Hakan Calhanoglu fired them towards the knockouts with a powerful strike. Tomas Soucek’s leveller handed the Czechs over 20 minutes to grab a winner and reach the last-16 themselves, but Turkey made sure of their progression after a late Cenk Tosun goal.

From early on, the most likely route to a Czech goal appeared to be via set-pieces with Robin Hranac nodding a long throw over after an intelligent Soucek flick on.

But, having made the stronger start of the two, they found themselves down to ten men only 20 minutes in when Barak was punished for consecutive harsh yellow cards in the earliest-ever Euros dismissal.

In response, Turkey set up camp on the edge of the Czech final third but resorted to long shots too often as their opponents’ counter-attacking caused problems - David Jurasek being denied one-on-one by Mert Gunok at the end of the first half.

Vincenzo Montella made seven changes for this game and was quick to turn to his bench too, as Kaan Ayhan replaced Salih Ozcan, who was one of the numerous victims of referee Istvan Kovacs’ eager card wafting.

Burak Yilmaz’s header quickly forced a save with Turkey’s first effort on target and they took the lead soon after. Kenan Yildiz was expertly denied by Jindrich Stanek before Calhanoglu fired an absolute rocket past the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.

The Czechs’ task grew harder still as Stanek went off injured but they had to pile men forward, and Turkey looked primed to punish them on the break.

Yet a long throw into the box saw goalkeeper Gunok lose out to towering substitute Tomas Cory before a shot was cleared off the line and slammed home by Soucek. VAR confirmed there was no foul on the keeper and suddenly one more Czech goal would see the two teams swap places in the group.

An incredibly open game demanded a dramatic finish and it was Turkey who scored in stoppage time via substitute Tosun. Austria await in their last-16 tie.

Rather fittingly, this bad-tempered contest, where so much of the ire was directed at the referee rather than between the two teams, ended in a scrap after the final whistle which saw Cory sent off and the yellow card total hit 16.