Women’s Euro 2017 – Turkey v Russia: The Winners Were Fethiye & Football

25th November was no ordinary afternoon in Fethiye. On 25th November, Fethiye Stadium was the venue for international sport, no less (it’s certainly not often – if at all – we can boast that in this town). That international sport was a UEFA Women’s Euro Championship group qualifying match, and, of course, the home team was Turkey. Turkey’s opposition on Wednesday was Russia – and in a 0-0 draw between the two teams, this is mainly a story about Fethiye and Fethiye people and sport, because they ran out winners.

Women’s Euro 2017 Qualifiers In Fethiye – Turkey v Russia

You don’t need us to tell you that official relations between Turkey and Russia are not great right now, and this match was taking place the day after those relations took a turn for the worst. But, like we said, this is a story about Fethiye, people and sport.

https://www.facebook.com/Fethiyespor1933/photos/a.418344344884302.119199.414845028567567/1015515065167224/?type=3&theater

After stumbling across an ad for the match on Facebook last week we were in wow-how-exciting mode but also waited for some further confirmation – international European football in Fethiye and no big hoo-haa around town? We hadn’t seen any advertising hoardings, none of our friends knew about it, nothing online apart from the small ad I’d accidentally seen on Facebook. Was this thing actually going to happen? Such is life in Fethiye, you see…

By and by, we found the Women’s Euro 2017 fixtures that confirmed the match was to be played at the Fethiyespor stadium at 16:00 CET. Right, that’s 17:00 here, then. Then the guys at the Fethiyespor 1933 supporters Facebook page posted an ad for the match and confirmed the 17:00 kick off. No one could find anything out about ticket prices, though…and then on the day of the match, a few hours before kickoff, a new poster suddenly popped on Facebook: 16:00 kick off (you can see the change in the poster above).

Uefa Women's Euro Qualifiers - Turkey v Russia

Turkey were already in team hug by the time we got to some empty seats

So, we’ve got international football in Fethiye, a kick off  time no one is sure about, no information about entrance fee (would it be pricey or bargain basement?) and we’re playing a team whose powers that be are, since the day before, not best pleased with the Turkish powers that be. Would there be anyone at the match if no one knew about it, and if there was to be anyone at the match, would it be an unpleasant atmosphere?

Turkey v Russia – The Match

We were still really up for giving the Turkish women’s team our support, anyway, so we decided to amble up towards the Fethiyespor stadium for around 3:30 pm just to see if there was anyone around. Wow, Fethiye – happily surprised once more! A huge queue / crowd around the only ticket booth in operation and then another queue / crowd at the only turnstile that was open. There was a real buzz, and, even though it was clear officials weren’t expecting so many fans, all in the queue were buoyant.

Uefa Women's Euro Qualifiers - Russia

Russia’s team hug and posh hoardings around the stadium, no less

And then, joy of joys, don’t you just love it when you join the back of a massive queue knowing you’re going to miss the first few minutes of the match and then a friend appears from nowhere and hands you a pair of tickets! Happy days! He’d seen me sharing the match on Facebook that morning, gone to the stadium and bought 5 tickets for whoever wanted them…well, they were only 1 TL each! Straight into the stadium as the national anthems are playing, we find three seats together in the packed stand and our first ever international football match kicks off.

For this match, Turkey are bottom of their group and Russia are second from bottom, so both teams are desperate for points. And no worries about the atmosphere. We wondered if support would be a different for the women’s team, but no. If Turkey are playing, the sport and the gender are irrelevant. Turkey will be fully supported.

Russia Take Corners Against Turkey

We seemed to watch Russia take corner after corner – to no avail

This was full on, noisy support from regular Fethiyespor fans and others who had come along to watch a bit of international sport taking place in their town. Singing, chanting and highly vocal, enthusiastic ‘coaching’ from those in the crowd who know all there is to know about football… Every stadium has them and what would a stadium be without them, eh?

Russia pressed Turkey so hard, and, in the first half, it seemed to be corner after corner – at least we know the Turkish goalkeeper is decent because she was kept very busy!

Sunset At Fethiye Stadium

Half time for the match and a decent sunset thrown in, too

And as the match progressed and the sun started to go down, with the main stand full, the stand opposite (maraton) started to fill, too, and a group of youngsters got themselves together to lead the singing. Good on them! Soon, the whole stadium was singing and chanting for Turkey and the team continued to play hard.

And yes, it’s got to be said; sorry to bring the male-female situation into this tale, but, to all the superstar male footballers of this world, playing hard meant no rolling around on the floor in ‘agony’ only to magically recover seconds later. Only once did a Turkish player go down in the first half – she’d taken a knock to the face and had a copious amounts of blood spilling from her nose. She was back on the pitch a couple of minutes later after treatment. Just saying…

Turkey Supporters At Fethiye Stadium

A small core of vocal supporters can make a lot of noise

Anyway, the match finished 0-0 and the Turkish team were happy with the result. We’d just watched them get their first point in Group 5 – they got their first point here in Fethiye – and they clearly appreciated the support they’d received, too (there’s 40 seconds of that in the video clip below). Straight over to the guys in the opposite stand to thank them – and sing with them – and then big thanks to everyone in the main stand as they left the pitch.

And then we all filed out of the ground and made our ways to wherever we were going.

And that’s what happened. This match won’t be all over the international press and social media because there’s a gulf of difference between men’s and women’s football in so many respects. This match won’t be all over the press and social media because it took place at a small stadium in a small corner of Turkey. And this match won’t be all over the press and social media because there was no disrespect or nasty chanting. This match in Fethiye was everyday Fethiye people who were there to enjoy their country involved in sport against another country.

And that’s what we all did…

UEFA Women’s Euro – Netherlands 2017

  • Turkey and Russia are in Qualifying Group 5. Both teams are still in with a slim chance of qualification.
  • If you are from a European country and are interested in the current standings for your team, you can view all the tables here. For Brits, England are in Group 7, Scotland are in Group 1, Wales are in Group 9 and Northern Ireland are in Group 6.
  • Turkey’s next match is on 30th November, away to Croatia. 
  • And, on a local level, if you fancy going along to Fethiye’s stadium to watch Fethiyespor (we have good fun, there), check our Fethiyespor fixtures and results list for their future matches.
  • Don’t miss out on other happenings in Fethiye. Keep an eye on our Fethiye Events Calendar for upcoming goings on.

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