Germany full-back Philipp Lahm says his side have learned from the group defeat by Croatia and are determined to book a UEFA EURO 2008™ final place.
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Germany full-back Philipp Lahm says his side have learned from the group defeat by Croatia and are determined to book their UEFA EURO 2008™ final place.
Despite semi-final opponents Turkey suffering from serious injury and suspension problems, Lahm insists Germany will allow no room for complacency. "Since the Croatia defeat, we haven't been underestimating anyone," the 24-year-old said. "We are in the semi-finals of the [UEFA] European Championship and, just like us, Turkey have earned the right to play there too. At [UEFA] EURO 2004™ we experienced how you pay for not taking opponents seriously, by losing to a supposedly second-string Czech Republic side. Turkey have top players at this tournament and we won't underestimate any of them."
Ever-present for Joachim Löw's team, Lahm pronounces himself pleased with his contribution so far. "I am fully fit and feel very good," the FC Bayern München defender added. "I am satisfied with my displays here. I always want to improve and am trying to play well at the top international level." One of Germany's best performers four years ago in Portugal, and again at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Lahm is particularly happy with the praise he received after the quarter-final win over Portugal. "After that game, my defensive work was highlighted and I was delighted about that."
Lahm comes up against Bayern team-mate Hamit Altıntop at Basel's St. Jacob-Park on Wednesday and is well aware of the midfielder's influence on the Turkey side. "He is the type of player who is a real leader in their squad and unbelievably important to the team. We'll have to be wary of him." However, the former VfB Stuttgart man reveals he will not be in touch with Hamit before kick-off. "We get on well but we don't send each other messages or anything like that. We'll see each other, at the latest, on the pitch on Wednesday," smiled Lahm.
Spoiled for choice
Unlike their opponents, Germany do not have suspension worries and only Torsten Frings is struggling for fitness after the broken rib that kept him out against Portugal. "Of course we hope Torsten will be fit in time," said Lahm. "He has a lot of experience and has already proved here that he is very important to us. But in the quarter-final, all our players fulfilled their roles to perfection so the trainer will be spoiled for choice now we are all fit and raring to go. We managed to reach the semi-finals and now we want to get to the final at all costs."