"If Russia hosts 2021 World Cup, the whole beach soccer world is going to win"

Turkey's head coach Emrah Aykurt believes his team can make it to the World Cup. Even without their best player.

The head coach of Turkish national team Emrah Aykurt lost two games in Moscow with his team but still believes that Turkey will be able to qualify to the World Cup in Paraguay. Aykurt talked to and explained the absence of striker Sem Keskin in Moscow and expressed his opinion on Russia hosting the next World Cup in 2021. 

- Emrah, your team looked better against Switzerland than the day before against Belarus. Would you agree with that statement?

- Yes, we had two different matches even though result was the same. We made a lot of mistakes against Belarus and played pretty ok against the Swiss. I am happy to see some progress in our game. I hope that we will be moving step by step and will be able to achieve what we want here in Moscow.

- What is your main goal here?

- Tickets to Paraguay, of course (smiles). We are dreaming about it. I am sure that we are able to get into the top five teams of the tournament. Everything is real, you just have to work hard and show your best game. 

- The Turkish team was in the lead vs Switzerland, but lost this advantage. Why did it happen, in your opinion?

- It was a very open game, both teams created a huge amount of chances. Switzerland was just more accurate with scoring goals. That's the whole point.

- Today Russian fans actively supported the Turkish team ...

- Yes, it really helped us. I want to say a big thank you to the Russian fans who cheered for us today. We have great relationship between our countries. We are supported not only at the stadium, but also on the street. People see that we are from Turkey and they wish us good luck, they ask for a photo. It is a pleasure for us to play in such atmosphere. 

- Belarus almost lost to Lithuania in the same group. Have you been surprised by the progress of this match?

- After Ukraine’s refusal to come to Moscow, the results of matches with fourth teams will not be taken into account. So if we beat Lithuania the result of the game between Belarus and Lithuania will not affect the further course of events. Anyways, I must say that the Lithuanian team has shown that they have a good defense and know how to play beach soccer. I know their coach Sahib Mammadov very well as he played beach soccer in Turkey. He is just starting his coaching career, but it’s already obvious that Lithuania made a significant progress under his management. 

- Many people are wondering why there is no Sem Keskin in your squad here in Moscow. Is he injured?

- No, he is healthy. It's my decision not to take him. There are disciplinary reasons for this.

- The qualifying tournament for the World Cup is taking place at Luzhniki. This place was home for FIFA World Cup final in big soccer last year. Does this make the atmosphere even more special?

- Of course! This is a big sports complex with a rich history. There were many iconic sporting events, including the World Cup finals. The only problem is the weather (smiles).

- How do you feel about Russia hosting 2021 World Cup 2021 in beach soccer?

- This is my fourth trip to Russia, and I would like to mention that the organization is always at the highest level. I think if Russia hosts 2021 World Cup, the whole beach soccer world is going to win. 

- Some people think it would be great to organize the World Cup in Red Square in the heart of Moscow. What do you think about it?

- Oh, that would be a historic moment for beach soccer. This will attract everyone's attention for sure. Even if the Turkish team fails to qualify for the World Cup in 2021, I will definitely come as a fan. You can not miss something like that!