Fatih Terim said there were "no miracles in football" as his depleted Turkey team prepared to take on revitalised Germany for a place in Sunday's UEFA EURO 2008™ final.
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Turkey coach Fatih Terim said there were "no miracles in football" as his depleted team prepared to take on Germany for the prize of a place in Sunday's UEFA EURO 2008™ final in Vienna.
'Message about life'
The progress of Turkey to their first semi-final on the European stage has provided compelling drama, their three wins en route to Basel secured by increasingly improbable comebacks. With three-times champions Germany now barring their path on Wednesday, Terim reflected that Turkey's success so far had been the result of a committed team effort and nothing more. "As far as I know there are three results you can get: win, lose or draw. There is no result called a miracle in football. Einstein said there are two ways to live – one is to believe everything is a miracle and live your life that way, the second is to believe nothing is a miracle. I belong to the second group. We've worked hard to put together a team who work a lot and believe in themselves. Everyone enjoys watching us – we send a message about life as well as football."
Germany coach Joachim Löw has experienced Turkish football during short spells with Fenerbahce SK and Adanaspor AS, and he admitted he was impressed by the strides taken by Terim's side. "Maybe ten to 15 years ago they wouldn't have been capable of coming back in three consecutive matches but now they can do that," he said. "They have always had talented players but when they were behind their heads tended to go down. They have learned never to give up." While Turkey's self-belief is strong, Germany's eye-catching quarter-final victory over Portugal has increased the confidence levels of a squad aiming to reach their first UEFA European Championship final since 1996. "We had a setback against Croatia [losing 2-1 in the group stage] but have responded very well since and we have no worries about injured players. We are confident in our strengths," said Löw.
Highlighting the "great physical shape" of captain Michael Ballack, the coach said he had no fitness worries, meaning a possible return for Torsten Frings, absent against Portugal with a broken rib. Should Löw retain the 4-2-3-1 system employed so effectively against Portugal, this would mean a place on the bench for Thomas Hitzlsperger or Simon Rolfes. By contrast, Terim's foremost concern is to ensure he has enough players available. The quartet of Volkan Demirel, Tuncay Şanlı, Arda Turan and Emre Aşιk are suspended while striker Nihat Kahveci followed Emre Güngör in departing the tournament injured after the quarter-final shoot-out triumph against Croatia. Midfielder Tümer Metin may be fit for involvement but Servet Çetin and Emre Belözoğlu are still struggling which could leave just 13 outfield players available for action.
Terim took a philosophical view as he looked ahead to what is Turkey's biggest match since their 2002 FIFA World Cup semi-final loss to Brazil. "If you asked the eliminated coaches if they would be in my place with the injured and suspended players, or watching the semi-final from home, I suppose they would still like to be here." Germany have won four of five previous semi-finals in this competition but Terim added: "We have courage and believe in our chances. We respect Germany but we are not afraid of them, just as we've not been afraid of any other opponent."