'I'm very sorry' - Yilmaz retires from Turkey duty after skying crucial penalty in World Cup 2022 play-off clash with Portugal

Yilmaz 2022Getty Images

Veteran Turkey star Burak Yilmaz sent his nation out of the World Cup qualifiers after failing to hit the target with a penalty that would have tied Thursday's play-off with Portugal.

The Lille striker, 36, had dragged his side back into the game with a goal to make it 2-1, following Otavio and Diogo Jota's first-half strikes.

But when he had the chance to level with just six minutes left on the clock, Yilmaz sent his effort into the stratosphere, to the obvious relief of Portugal who went on to make the game safe through Matheus and book a final place against North Macedonia.

Article continues below

Watch Yilmaz's skied penalty to send Turkey out (UK & US only)

What has been said?

After the game, which saw Yilmaz earn his 77th cap and register a 31st goal for his country, the experienced frontman announced that he will be heading into international retirement.

He told reporters at the end of an emotional night for all concerned: “I don’t know how I didn’t score, I'm still in shock. We upset our country. I'm sorry. I'm very sorry. This was my last World Cup chance. As of today, this is over.

“I said to myself it was a definite goal when we got the penalty. I started thinking about the future. I am disappointed because I never thought about missing it. I'm sorry. I'm going to score this penalty every night of my life, maybe without sleep, in my dreams.

“I wouldn't want to quit after a game like this, but I don't think it's right to continue. Thank you to my coaches. My decision to quit is not emotional. I make this decision logically. If extreme, unbelievable situations occur, then I will help.

“Our country needs to pass the flag on to our young friends. The new generation, the new structure. This is the right thing. My decision is not a result of disappointment, nor is it about a penalty. I think our brothers will do what is necessary from now on.”

Further reading