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Coach Fatih Terim says Turkey plan to "reverse the tide" in their Group A match against the Czech Republic as they seek the victory that will secure their place in the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2008™.
Time for a change
The record books show that Turkey have never beaten the Czechs, a trend which Terim is anxious to reverse at the Stade de Genève on Sunday evening. "I have checked the statistics and they are not very favourable to Turkey," Terim said. "Our aim is to reverse the tide and ensure that we're in the last eight. I know we are good enough and believe the time has come for us to beat them."
The two sides go into the game parading identical records in Group A, having each accrued three points, scored two goals and conceded three in their matches against Portugal and Switzerland. Should the game finish level after 90 minutes, second place in the section will be decided on penalties for the first time in the history of the tournament. Terim is eager to avoid that scenario and insists his team will not be practising spot-kicks. "I am sure neither side wants this game to go to a shoot-out," said Terim, who steered Galatasaray AS to a penalties victory over Arsenal FC in the UEFA Cup final in 2000. "I have not prepared my players for penalties. It is not a situation you can plan for. I didn't do it for the UEFA Cup and I won't be doing it now. We want to win in 90 minutes."
Terim, who confirmed that both Emre Belözoğlu (hamstring) and Tümer Metin (groin) will sit out the match through injury, also announced his lineup to take on the Czechs. Three changes have been made from the 2-1 success against Switzerland on Wednesday, with Emre Güngör replacing Emre Aşık, with Mehmet Topal preferred to Gökdeniz Karadeniz and with Semih Şentürk stepping in for the injured Tümer. By contrast, Czech Republic coach Karel Brückner has no injury worries and stresses that his team will go out with all guns blazing. "We hope to continue our improvement throughout this tournament," he said. "It's a huge game – like a cup final – and we know we can improve, but I have no doubt my players will win this game and progress to the last eight."
Brückner, who is expected to keep faith with the same XI that lost to Portugal, is staying tight-lipped about which players he will ask to step up should the game go down to penalties. "We have players in our squad who are able to take responsibility if it comes down to that," he said. "But we plan to have won the tie long before that." Should the decision come down to a lottery, the Czechs have the security of knowing they have never missed a penalty in a EURO shoot-out – with Czechoslovakia having also won the tournament in 1976 thanks to Antonín Panenka's exquisitely chipped spot-kick. If his players can match that composure on Sunday, Brückner will be a very happy man.
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