Guler the thriller turns killer to conduct Turkey’s greatest night in generation | Jonathan Liew

Real Madrid teenager embraced pressure of the occasion to orchestrate team’s raucous knockout win against Austria

It’s the 59th minute of the game. There’s a corner to be taken, and Arda Guler strolls over to take it. As he approaches the section of the stadium where Austria’s noisiest fans are gathered, the confetti is unleashed: a hailstorm of beer cups flying at him, near him, on him. The rain, heavy all night, has swelled to an epic peak. Turkey lead 1-0. Guler stands alone, raising an arm to the deluge, not drowning but waving.

And of course, we knew all about Guler already. We all saw the long-range goal against Georgia, saw his late-season bloom at Real Madrid, saw the breathless tributes from teammates and coaches, followed the origin story of this precocious left-footed teenager all the way from his childhood at Fenerbahce. We knew what he could do with a football. What we didn’t know – what nobody yet knew – was when he could do it.

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