Normal service resumed as Weghorst brings order from chaos for Netherlands | Jonathan Wilson

Orthodoxy, in the end, prevailed. International football, perhaps, always has a slightly retro feel, with its teams of mismatched parts, the basic pressing structures, the preponderance of games decided not by tactical plans or even ability, but by human desire and passion and doing the right thing at just the right time. It is, perhaps, a more heroic form of the game, a world in which there is still a place for champions to rise above the analysis of the technocrats.

And there is little more retro than the tactic, in extremis, of throwing on a big man. For Ronald Koeman, as for Louis van Gaal before him, when there is an emergency for the Netherlands, call for Wout Weghorst. The Burnley striker might not be the Cruyffian idea of the Total Footballing front man, but this is not the first time he has turned a game for his country after coming off the bench. Weghorst didn’t score, but he gave the Netherlands a focal point to their attack around which Cody Gakpo, Memphis Depay and Xavi Simons could operate, and he gave them a way that Austria couldn’t find in the last 16 to break down this Turkish defence. He actually won only one header, touched the ball just 13 times, but presence is not easily measured by statistics.

Turkey had arguably been involved in the two best games of the tournament so far and, just as that victory over Ralf Rangnick’s side had salvaged a largely nondescript last 16 so, after three quarter-finals that had been higher on drama than goalmouth incident, there was a requirement for them to redeem the last eight. And they just about did. In a world in which the orthodoxy is that whether you sit deep or press high there is a need to be compact, the pitch always seems remarkably long when they play. They permit opponents chances, but the flip side is that they themselves are a persistent threat.

There is something oddly anachronistic about the Turkey manager Vincenzo Montella. He has the look of somebody from a 1970s Eurovision reporting the results of the jury from a Mediterranean country, and his tactical approach seems similarly from another age. His Fiorentina side often played with three and occasionally four highly technical midfielders, eschewing either a holder or pressing, and while his Turkey are not quite so rooted in technique as that, they are equally a team that does not defend in conventional ways. And as Otto Rehhagel proved in 2004, tactical unorthodoxy can take a team a long way over the short span of a tournament, whether that be man-to-man marking and squeezing the life out of a game in the manner of Greece, or this more adventurous style.

It has clearly helped in the periods when Turkey come under pressure that they are backed by an extraordinary noisy and passionate support.

More than 200,000 people of Turkish origin live in Berlin, making it the largest Turkish settlement outside Turkey. Around Kottbusser Tor, the street stalls were selling Turkish flags and Turkey shirts.

The Turkish support was loud but this time their team could not hold on. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

In the stadium, this had the feel of a Turkey home game. Although there was a great sweep of orange, at least three-quarters of the stadium was white and red. Any vaguely prolonged spell of Dutch possession prompted cacophonous whistles. Every Turkish tackle, every pass, every throw-in was cheered. Every Dutch challenge provoked howls of disbelief and fury. The nature of their goal, the cross arcing deliciously so the finish felt inevitable for several fractions of a second before Samet Akaydin headed in, allowed a great tide of noise to build before breaking into an ear-splitting roar.

But as in the last round, a first half in which they had taken the game to their opponents yielded to a second half in which they dropped deeper. As against Austria, Turkey defended narrow, ceded the flanks, backed themselves to clear the crosses or at least get in the way of any effort on goal that resulted. But you cannot allow a team to cross the ball towards Weghorst.

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Wout Weghorst

This has been a strange tournament for old-fashioned No 9s. The talk of a big-man summer all seemed a little premature as Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane struggled, but Niclas Füllkrug, Michael Gregoritsch and Weghorst have demonstrated how effective they still can be.

There is a reason compactness is praised, a reason it has become the default. Against Austria, Turkey were able to ride the emotional wave, but here it was their opponents making the desperate blocks, Bart Verbruggen producing an astonishing reflex save in injury-time from a close-range header.

It was fun while it lasted and Germany will not forget the noise of the Turkey fans, but in the end orthodoxy won. Weghorst creates chaos and somehow, by doing so, he reinforces the reign of normality.

The Guardian

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