Wednesday, June 25, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Germany-Turkey Recap

Just when you thought you'd seen it all with Turkey, you saw...well, you didn't see much in the second half thanks to some ill-timed lightning at the International Broadcast Center in Vienna. Unfortunately the broadcast of a thrilling 3-2 win by Germany over a relentless Turkish side was marred by technical difficulties. Before you jump all over ESPN, keep in mind that viewers worldwide experienced the same issues with only the domestic Swiss feed and, inexplicably, the Al-Jazeera broadcast reaching viewers uninterrupted.

As for the game, I owe an apology to the Turks. I figured with a depleted squad they'd try and play the Germans to a scoreless draw. But they never deviated from the entertaining, attacking style that made them the darlings of the tournament. That attacking style also was their undoing tonight. After both Turkish goals, Germany responded within five minutes, including Philip Lahm's rocket winner in the 90th minute, four minutes after Semih Senturk had leveled the game at 2-2.

The game winner was vindication for Lahm, who was beaten badly on the wing much of the night. Lahm also should have earned a penalty kick early in the second half on a clear Turkish foul. Jens Lehmann was iffy in goal for Germany, but somehow the Germans have given up two goals each of their two knockout round games and are still through to the Final. Credit their dynamic offensive for outscoring their shaky defense.

So the dream ends for Turkey, but they earned plenty of fans along the way. Their last three games were as thrilling as any trio you'll see in a major tournament. Unfortunately for them, they were on the wrong end of the scoreline in their final game. For Germany, it's on to Sunday's final against either Spain or Russia.

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