Arda Turan hopes not to be involved in the first UEFA European Championship group stage game to be settled on penalties when Turkey play the Czech Republic.
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Arda Turan hopes not to be involved in the first UEFA European Championship group stage game to be settled on penalties when Turkey play the Czech Republic on Sunday.
Arda's last-gasp winner in Turkey's 2-1 victory over co-hosts Switzerland on Wednesday left Fatih Terim's side with an identical record to the Czechs, their final opponents in Group A. With Portugal already through as section winners, second place – and entry to the quarter-finals – will now be decided on penalties in the event of a draw in Geneva. However, Galatasaray AS player Arda told euro2008.com: "Our mission is to finish the game in 90 minutes. If not, it will be a different and interesting moment in the tournament."
Capped 20 times by Turkey at the tender age of 21, left-sided midfielder Arda is aware that Karel Brückner's team will be no pushovers at the Stade de Genève. "They play their game with a great degree of discipline," he said. "They never give up their tactical positions, but we have some quality technical players who can unlock their disciplined playing style. If we can concentrate and show what we are capable of on the day, we can beat them. The most important thing is the way we play."
That being so, there can be no complaints about Arda's contribution. Rested for the Portugal game because Terim felt he was short of match fitness, he gave a pivotal display against Switzerland – scoring a deflected 92nd-minute decider. Because the player himself was unable to pick up his Carlsberg Man of the Match award due to a random doping test, his coach, who first spotted him as a teenager at Galatasaray, delivered the following tribute at the ceremony: "He needs to improve his stamina, but if he does he will be one of the most outstanding players in Europe." Arda added today: "Of course, it is a fabulous thing to be 21 and Man of the Match when playing for your country, but now that is in the past. It won't mean much if we cannot beat the Czech Republic. The photos which are hopefully going to be taken of us during the quarter or semi-finals will be more valuable than that award."
Reflecting on the Basel success which ended Switzerland's hopes of progress, Arda went on: "We started very well but the torrential rain made our task harder. We are a team with some stylish players, but we began playing long balls because the pitch was very slippery." Redemption came with a second-half comeback capped by Arda's strike. However, he gives the credit to a stirring half-time team talk. "[Terim] said, 'You deserve to be in this competition. You can achieve this goal. I believe in all of you'," reported Arda. Such faith may hold them in good stead on Sunday.