Tag: Turkey

No Stopping Them

In the end, then, Turkey didn’t have quite enough about them to be able to keep Germany at bay but, lord, they have given us some fabulous memories in this tournament and will be sadly missed in the final on Sunday evening. Germany, by contrast, are in the final of another major tournament without having played particularly well last night, and will face the winners of tonight’s match between Spain and Russia. It promises to be an absolute thriller. In all honesty, last night’s match was played very much in the shadow of this evening’s match. Most of the press attention here over the last couple of days has been drooling over the clash between Arshavin & Pavlyuchenko and Villa & Torres, and the column inches dedicated precious little to the internecine battle between Germany and Turkey, but this match far outshone the low expectations that accompanied it. Much had been made before the match of the selection problems facing Fatih Terim, with Nihat joining the heaving treatment table with a knee injury that ruled him out for the rest of the competition. The Turkish side had an element of a patchwork look about it, and it was this that informed the belief that Germany would stroll to a comfortable win. Turkey, however, started far the stronger of the two teams against a German team that looked simultaneously sluggish...

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Bosphorous 1-0 Balkans

It’s almost as if Michel Platini was sitting in the stand with a remote control. “Honestly”, he thought to himself as he recalled the one hundred and eighteen minutes of dirge that he had found himself sitting through, “if you leave them to do it for themselves, you’ll always end up with one really duff match in the end”. He reached into his pocket and brought out his gold and black Sony Euro-Joystick and switched it on. Within twenty seconds, Rustu Recber had run fifteen yards from his goal after a ball that he would have needed Inspector Gadget’s arms to get to, gifting Klasnic and Croatia what looked for all the world like the winning goal, from Luka Modric’s cross. “Hmm”, thought Platini, “if this ever becomes public knowledge, they’ll make mincemeat of me. I need to do something to level things up. That way, if anyone ever finds out about this, I can always say, ‘Well, at least I was even-handed about it all’. That should cover me”. Barely two minutes later, in the injury time of the second period of extra time, Rustu launched a long, aimless ball into the Croatian penalty area. With military precision, Platini sent a hundred volts through the testicles of the two Croatian central defenders -the distraction providing just enough space for Semih to drive the laser-guided ball past Pletikosa and...

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Czechs Bounced Etc

Slowly but surely, the records are being broken. It feels as if, one by one, new legends are being created on an almost daily basis at Euro 2008, and last night we had a new one to add to the list: the greatest comeback by an international team in the finals of a competition. To be honest about it all, the first seventy-five minutes of last night’s match between Turkey and the Czech Republic were fairly ordinary. The Czechs had gone two goals up through a factory-fit header from Jan Koller in the first half and an acrobatic slide-cum-stab from Plasil just after the hour mark. So far, so good. Apart from that, it was so-so, with both teams limited to a couple of long range efforts and almost accidental looking shots at goal each. With fifteen minutes to play, though, Turkey ripped the script up and threw it away, replacing it with one that the writers of “Escape To Victory” would have replaced for being too far fetched. First up, Turan popped up with a shot from the edge of the area that beat Petr Cech at his near post. It’s possible to absolve Cech of any blame for this goal, a well-hit low shot from the edge of the penalty area that skidded on very wet grass. There were less forgiving circumstances seven minutes later, though. Hamit’s...

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Switzerland 1-2 Turkey

All those years of planning, and Switzerland’s journey in the European Championships is over. None of this is to say that they have played badly. Indeed, they were better team against the Czech Republic and were desperately, desperately unlucky to be knocked out tonight by a late, deflected goal in a match that they had dominated for long spells. It did look as if the Gods may be transpiring against Switzerland in some way. The storm clouds gathered over Basle this evening in a manner that reminded one of a black and white vampire film. You half expected the referee to come out dressed as Bela Lugosi. Shortly into the match, a downpour started that rapidly assumed biblical proportions, and the pitch rapidly became unable to drain off the excess water, and things became thrillingly, brilliantly exciting. With standing water on the pitch and tackles bringing up a spray that cat on a surf board could probably ride, everything became less predictable. Switzerland adjusted to the new conditions, and it was out of them that their goal arrived, when Eren Derdioyk got away down the right hand side and got a low cross in that slowed down so perfectly in front of Hakan Yakin that he almost slipped before, thudding the ball in with his shin. It was a ridiculous goal in extraordinary conditions, but it counted all the...

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Portugal 2-0 Turkey

It was comprehensive and uncompromising result and, in many respects, the only major questions emerging from last night’s match between Turkey and Portugal is one of whether the Portuguese will peak or have already peaked too soon because, with an easier draw than most of the serious contenders for this tournament and having played the way that they did last night, there is now a powerful case for saying that Portugal might just be able to go all the way at Euro 2008. It wasn’t that Turkey were a weak side or that they couldn’t live with their opponents. They might have looked a little light-weight in attack, but ultimately they simply couldn’t live with the vast array of attacking options that Portugal had. By the last fifteen minutes, the Portuguese were effectively playing four men up front and all four of the seemed to be trying to score the goal of the tournament. They were, to be frank, not a major taking a major risk since the Turks were, without Hakan Sukur, lightweight looking up front (although Colin Kazam looked spritely, living up to his billing as “The Man In The Premier League Shop Window”), and Portugal were never seriously in danger of their lead. Indeed, the delightful, artful second goal that Portugal scored right at the very death was the mere icing of the cake that was...

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