Tuesday, June 24, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Germany-Turkey Preview

Turkey faces Germany in the first semifinal from Basel. While Turkey's Cinderella run has been highlighted by some of the greatest finishes in tournament history, a combination of injuries and yellow cards have sapped the squad. We're now left with a Saturday-after-Thanksgiving Turkey; the kind that's not only been served for dinner, but was used the next day for sandwiches, and now just has a few pieces of meat clinging to the carcass. Get the picture?

So with no Arda Turan, no Nihat Kahveci, no Emre Asik and no Volkan Demirel, how are the Turks suppose to pull this off? Their best option may be to play for a 0-0 and take the match to shootout. But history shows you don't want a piece of the Germans in a shootout. So if Turkey wins, it will be their biggest miracle to date.

Germany has gone from tournament favorites to looking vulnerable to back to favorites. Their convincing 3-2 win over Portugal erased any doubts from their mediocre showing in the group stages. Offensively, Germany has been the tournament's most diverse team, with Michael Ballack, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose all making major contributions.

The venue: St. Jakob Park, Basel, Switzerland
The broadcast: ESPN, 2:45 pm ET
The prediction: Turkey will have to take a grind-it-out approach, but Germany have shown an ability to overcome the likes of Poland and Austria who employed a similar strategy. The Germans get a 1-0 win to advance to the Final.

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