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Fired-up Turks take on German giant in first semi

Latest update : 2008-06-25

Despite losing nine of his squad to injury and suspension, Turkish coach Fatih Terim remains confident in the wake of his team's historic semi-final against Germany, and claims their ascent is no "miracle". (Report: N. Germain)

Follow the Euro 2008 on the Observers' website


On the eve of his side's historic Euro 2008 semi-final against Germany, Turkey coach Fatih Terim says he refuses to believe in miracles, despite his side's incredible come-back record.
   
Turkey have won their last three games with last-grasp goals to snatch victory over Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Croatia on their way to Thursday's semi-final at Basel's St Jakob-Park Stadium.
   
They have been widely dubbed the "Come-back Kings" due to their exploits and Germany coach Joachim Loew said their late goals came in 'miracle situations'.
   
This is the first time Turkey have reached the last four of a European Championships and despite losing nine of their squad to injury and suspension, Terim says his side will fight to the very end - and will need no miracles.
   
"I have a simple message hanging on my wall: Nothing is impossible, but miracles take time," said the 54-year-old.
   
"Every person is capable of making their own miracles, but I don't believe in them.
   
"Einstein said: 'There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.'
   
"I belong to the first group.
   
"If a team doesn't accept defeat and fights to the very end, that team will give themselves every chance of winning."
   
But Turkey are down to 14 fit out-field players - two goal-keepers and 12 out-field players.
   
They are without the banned quartet of keeper Volkan Demirel, Tuncay Sanli, Arda Turan who scored their last gasp winner against the Swiss, and Emre Asik.
   
Three players are definitely ruled out by injury: striker Nihat Kahveci, who has returned to Spain for treatment on a thigh problem picked up against the Croats, Emre Gungor and skipper Emre Belozoglu.
   
But defender Servet Cetin and midfielder Tumer Metin have both been rushed back from minor injuries and may come off the bench.
   
Terim laughed off his previous comments reserve goalkeeper Tolga Zengin was being considered for a role in midfield, due to their dire situation.
   
"It was a joke, but people took me seriously," laughed Terim - who has been nicknamed 'the Emperor'.
   
"I said it to express the situation we were in, but people took me seriously."
   
And having become the success story of the tournament with their last-grasp victories, Terim said he was very proud of what his team has achieved - but their goal is to win Sunday's final in Vienna.
   
"When people look back on Euro 2008, they will remember my team," smiled Terim.
   
"At the start of the tournament, not many people knew them, but their hats are off now.
   
"They play with their hearts and with their minds.
   
"We have made people forget about their politics and religion and unite under one flag, this team has helped bring together the team of Turkey.
   
"But we have one target and that is to win the tournament."

Date created : 2008-06-25

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