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Restless Ballack champing at the bit

Germany captain Michael Ballack has revealed that he and his team-mates cannot wait to face Turkey in Wednesday's semi-final having had almost a week off.

Michael Ballack cannot wait for Wednesday
Michael Ballack cannot wait for Wednesday ©Getty Images

Germany captain Michael Ballack says he and his team-mates are counting down the minutes until they can play Turkey in Wednesday's semi-final.

Cabin fever
The Mannschaft beat Portugal in the last eight in Basel on 19 June to secure a return to St. Jakob-Park, although the six days between the fixtures have been a source of frustration for Ballack. "Of course, the mood in the camp since the victory over Portugal has been even better. We were able to recover for a couple days but are now getting impatient because the break is a little too long," said the 31-year-old. "We want to get back to action – we're ready for the game against Turkey."

'Difficult' opponents
Despite the raft of personnel unavailable for Turkey, Ballack is not underestimating the challenge posed by Fatih Terim's side. "I am very calm and happy that we are in the semi-final. Everyone is eyeing the chance to reach the final, though the task against Turkey will be extremely difficult," explained the Chelsea FC midfielder. "Turkey can adjust incredibly well to every kind of opponent, and they have, in Fatih Terim, a coach who can motivate his players extremely well. And anyway, how could we underestimate a team that beat Croatia? We lost against that team and did not look good doing so."

If unwilling to give anything away tactically, Ballack believes Turkey will present a different obstacle to that posed by Portugal in a quarter-final won 3-2. "This kind of game depends on details, so it would not be too clever to say too much," he went on. "We have some options. On the one side, our system against Portugal worked very well, but on the other, Turkey are a very different team from the Portuguese. They will play more defensively – I expect a game in which we will at least have a lot more possession."

Improvement sought
Having contested the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup two years ago on home soil, losing to Italy after extra time, Ballack is determined to go one better against rivals famed for their never-say-die attitude. "We got eliminated and were so close to the final – we want to improve on that," he said. "We learned back then that you have to play games until the referee blows the final whistle, and you always have to play fully concentrated. The Turkey team have proved in this tournament how important that is."