Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Euro 2008: Turkey Miracle, Take 4?

Turkey has been the best story of Euro 2008. Not only are the Turks responsible for the biggest comeback in tournament history with three goals in the closing minutes against the Czech Republic to escape the group stage, but their presence in today's semifinal against Germany is against the highest of odds.

A miracle victory today could be considered the biggest upset in SPORTS HISTORY!

Turkey comes into today's match at St. Jakob Park in Switzerland minus eight regulars, four of whom are suspended via an accumulation of cards, and the remaining four are injured. The ugly list looks like this:
  1. Tuncay Sanli (SUSPENDED)
  2. Arda Turan (SUSPENDED)
  3. Volkan Demirel (SUSPENDED)
  4. Emre Asik (SUSPENDED)
  5. Nihat Kahveci (INJURED)
  6. Emre Gungor (INJURED)
  7. Servet Cetin (INJURED)
  8. Emre Belozoglu (INJURED)
Give the Turks credit however. At least publicly, they're not intimidated. Turkey coach Fatih Terim is relying on Colin Kazim-Richards, one of the few England-born players at Euro, to settle down the remaining youngsters. Terim admits he'd rather have Germany's experience, but he's backing his young squad, especially since that young squad has already pulled off three miracles in this tournament.
"Before coming here, many people were asking whether experience or hunger was the most important thing. My players may be inexperienced but they are definitely hungry. With Kazim, I have been putting him in the team since the beginning - he can control his excitement. Experience is important, but dynamism from players is just as important and can benefit the team."
Things are so bad, third-string keeper Tolgan Zengin may have to play in the field; Turkey may field only 13 players for today.

It's a fascinating story, and if this game is 0-0 at the half, or 1-1 into the second half, look out. That noose will get awfully tight on the Germans, who by all rights, should win this game in a cakewalk.

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