Having caught their breath after the tumultuous quarter-final defeat of Croatia, Turkey are beginning their preparations for their last-four encounter with Germany.
Article top media content
The epic success in Vienna took its toll on the already depleted Turkey squad, and not just with Arda Turan – scorer of the last-gasp winner against Switzerland on their previous trip to St. Jakob-Park – Tuncay Şanlı and Emre Aşık picking up suspensions to add to Volkan Demirel's two-game ban. Striker Nihat Kahveci has returned home after injuring his thigh late in the game, Emre Güngör was already out of the tournament with a calf complaint and fellow centre-back Servet Çetin is unable to train due to hip and knee problems. Midfielders Tümer Metin and captain Emre Belözoğlu are only involved in light training, leaving just 14 eligible players, including two goalkeepers, to take part in a squad match along with the banned quartet in front of Turkish Football Federation president Hasan Doğan on Sunday.
Rüştü Reçber made the decisive penalty save against Croatia and will continue in goal against Germany, and assuming Emre Belözoğlu does not recover, he will be the only survivor from the sole comparable match in Turkey's footballing history, the 1-0 FIFA World Cup semi-final defeat by Brazil in 2002. And he had a warning for Germany: "Turkey's never-give-up attitude shouldn't be forgotten." Kazım Kazım was a 15-year-old trainee at lowly English club Bury FC when Turkey faced Brazil but the London-born player is set to take an important role against Germany, having watched the end of the quarter-final from the bench. "Our added-time goal was incredible," he said. "When I saw our goal, I thought they would lose the game. I think, at that moment, going to penalties was better for us."
His Fenerbahçe SK team-mate Uğur Boral may be used as a left-back if Hakan Balta is moved to partner Gökhan in the centre but the winger was undaunted by the difficult circumstances. "We have enough morale and psychological strength to overcome this situation. In my opinion, Turkey's best weapon is belief," he said. And Doğan, who has invited to the match all his predecessors, former national coaches and ex-Turkey players with more than 50 caps, joked that Terim's team had done wonders for national pride: "Now we will feel more comfortable when we give our passports to policemen at airports!"