Two qualifications almost 50 years apart (1954 and 2002), a third place
finish in 2002, and a failure to qualify in 2006 make up the fortunes of one of
the surprise non-qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup. Despite a formidable
league at home, and several star players at top notch clubs abroad, Turkey's
qualifying run came to a grind as they were edged by formidable
Turkey's absence from the 2006 finals proves just how difficult qualification
can be, especially in the European region.