12 April 1989, Magdeburg: There had been a tragic event striking Turkish domestic football during the winter, with the team bus of Samsunspor, including goalkeeper Fatih Uraz, who had left a fine impression during Turkey's three late 1988 qualifiers, colliding with a truck en route to an away match with Malatyaspor on January 20. Two of their players (a third, Yugoslavian Zoran Tomić, went into a coma, and would pass away five months later), their manager and the bus driver had been killed instantly, whereas several others had been injured, some of them severely. Unfortunately, Fatih was in the latter category. The talented stopper, aged 28 when the accident occured, would never again feature at top level. These sad cirumstances saw Tınaz having to look for a replacement, and the choice fell on Engin İpekoğlu of Sakaryaspor, a 27 year old who had been the back-up 'keeper for their first two qualifiers, but who had not made his international debut until that recent 1-0 friendly win in Greece.
30 November 1988, Istanbul: After the 15 hour mark, it is as if someone's flicked a switch, because all of a sudden the hosts start to get their feet going. They show determination well above that of their opponents, and it does seem like they have just collectively shaken off their early match nerves. They are resolute at the back, where the young Gökhan wins a couple of challenges in the centre of the pitch with Thom. The confidence seems to breathe through their team, and they start applying pressure on their hosts, who retract further back inside their own half. Uğur has a shot from 25 yards with 17,30 on the clock, but it is hit with too much slice, and it goes well to the right of Weißflog's goal. They do not yet have a lot to show for their gradually stronger dominance, the Turkish. In fact, they were somewhat fortunate not to go behind when Cüneyt gets a clearance from a Döschner left wing cross all wrong: With Fatih stranded, he only clears his own crossbar by half a yard! The opening period was approaching its halfway stage.
From the news archives
One of the last qualifiers covered at italia1990.com is Iceland v Soviet Union (31 August 1988) from UEFA Group 3, provided by our writer kaltz. In addition, we give you the front page of the Icelandic newspaper Tíminn on 1 September 1988: Its headline was not so much the result of the game, as the naked person who entered the field. This is allegedly the first time this phenomenon was witnessed on a sporting venue on the island. Insular innocence stolen.
(Thanks to @WC1930blogger for notifying us.)
Updates and news
Italia1990.com is a work in progress, with also published material being continuously revised. We will only begin publishing match reports from the 1990 World Cup tournament when all qualifiers have been covered. We are currently focusing on the UEFA qualifiers, which will remain our priority for a while yet. Also check out our section for international friendlies. There is no particular pattern as to what friendlies we decide to report from, but there will be parallel progress as we keep working our way through the qualification groups. To receive updates on twitter, follow @1990qual and @1990worldcup
NEXT: Soviet Union v East Germany (spring 1989 UEFA zone Group 3 qualifier). Coming soon.
From the archives
Italia1990.com is a website dedicated to the 1990 FIFA World Cup. With the aim to collect all knowledge and analyse every aspect of Italia'90, this website will for a considerable time be a work in progress. The website publishes everything worth to know not only about the World Cup tournament itself, but also its build-up, including the qualification stage. While match info and statistics are important, this website will also stress match reports, anecdotes and analyses. Two writers are currently engaged in the project, kaltz (@1990qual) and domizio (@1990worldcup).
This website, italia1990.com, is non-commercial and unofficial, and not affiliated to FIFA. Header image: The sky above Stadio Olimpico, and the area around the stadium (1989).
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