"A National Catastrophe in the Arena"

First, the facts: Turkey lost the first leg of their play-off 3-0. As Zonal Marking concludes:
Turkey were dreadful, though – so much possession and hardly a sniff of a chance. The lack of creativity and thrust from the centre of midfield was amazing, and Tuesday’s return game will surely be Hiddink’s last as a manager.
An article in the Guardian adds,
There is little optimism that Turkey, who were booed and jeered as they imploded against Croatia, can inspire the massive swing required to rescue this play-off in Zagreb. Hiddink's instructions were to prioritise not conceding a goal, only for Turkey to trail inside two minutes. It went downhill from there. "I take full responsibility," Hiddink said after the first leg. "I think it's very important that the players play for their honour, for themselves, for their country, because, let's face facts, it's difficult, almost impossible, to qualify."
But what caught my eye the following day was the front page of FotoMaç, one of the many daily papers devoted to soccer.
Front page, FotoMaç, 12 November 2011
"Hayallerimiz enkaz altında kaldı." Below, it continues, "Türk Telekom Arena'da 3.0 şiddetinde bir futbol depremi yaşadık." Translated, "Our dreams were buried under rubble... In Türk Telekom Arena we lived through a 3.0 soccer earthquake." The earthquake on the field, of course, is meant to echo the earthuake(s) that Turkey has just experienced (according to recent news reports, rescue efforts have been called off as the region continues to struggle with winter weather).

What struck me about the cover was the way it reinforced not only the importance of the national team to 'us' but also signaled one further way through which the earthquake has been nationalized. The cover ties together a national community (the 'we' who watched the game and lived through the earthquake) with a sporting event (the match itself) with the Van earthquake. In a way, I think, it raises the stakes - for the earthquake but especially for the success (or failure, as the case may be) of the national team.


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