Turkey coach Fatih Terim was extolling the virtues of patience as he basked in the light of the 3-2 win against the Czech Republic. "I have a saying framed in my office which says: 'Nothing is impossible. It only takes time.' There is another phrase I like: 'The darkest hour comes just before dawn.' We don't give up."
That has been proven time and again as Turkey recovered from losing their opening game against Portugal to reach the UEFA EURO 2008™ quarter-finals. Terim's side came from behind to defeat Switzerland 2-1 thanks to Arda Turan's added-time winner and they did it again on Sunday when they hit back from two goals down with 15 minutes to play to triumph. Nihat Kahveci was the star of a remarkable comeback, scoring twice in the last four minutes. The Czech Republic led 1-0 at half-time but Terim wrestled back the initiative with the introduction of Sabri Sarıoğlu in place of Semih Şentürk at half-time. Though Turkey fell 2-0 behind on 62 minutes, Sabri's attacking threat down the right would play a crucial role in Turkey getting back into the game.
Never say die
"We didn't play like I wanted us to in the first half," Terim said. "Our opponents were better than us. But we trust and believe each other and achieved this victory. If somebody had said we would win when the score was 2-0, you would have thought they were joking, but things like that happen in football. It was difficult to start the tournament against Portugal. I don't think we played badly in that match. We don't give up in any situation. This is our biggest weapon."
Victory ensured Turkey finished as runners-up in Group A to earn a quarter-final meeting with Croatia in Vienna on Friday. "My former players and I played against Croatia in our opening game at EURO '96 [Turkey lost 1-0], but now everything has changed. They were very successful in the qualifying round and in the group stage. I like some of their players, but I'm not afraid of any of them," the 54-year-old said. Reaching the semi-finals for the first time would be a terrific achievement under any circumstances, but particularly given the selection problems the coach has to contend with.
Goalkeeper Volkan Demirel and midfielder Mehmet Aurélio are both suspended while Tümer Metin and Emre Belözoğlu are unlikely to recover from injury in time. "We have a lot of injury problems," Terim said. "Nihat, Emre Aşık, Aurélio, Servet [Çetin], Emre Güngör and Hakan Balta all picked up knocks last night and we'll have to wait and see if they're available or not." In Emre Güngör's case, the centre-back was subsequently ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a calf-muscle problem.
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