Thursday, June 26, 2008

Earning the (re)cap: Deutschland marches on

Photo: Wingback Philipp Lahm seals the Germans' place in the finals with a stoppage-time goal. [Photo from The Daily Telegraph]

Breaking down Day XVII of the European Championships...

Germany 3, Turkey 2

What a game that was. Unlike their snooze-fest against the Croatians, the Turks went for the throat right from the start and created chances by the bushel. The Germans, meanwhile, seemed to be caught flat-footed, and could only defend for the first little while as Turkey racked up 10 shots to their two in the first 20 minutes: amazing, considering the short bench Turkey was left with due to suspensions and injuries.

The offensive pressure soon paid off for the Turks, as Ugur Boral drilled a rebound off the crossbar through the legs of Jens Lehmann in the 22nd minute. However, Germany quickly equalized four minutes later against the run of play on a great combination from Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger, and it was 1-1 going into the half.

In the second half, watching began to get frustrating. The on-pitch product was superb, but it was rarely available, as a lightning strike [The Associated Press via The Globe and Mail] overloaded the satellite transmission and blacked out the broadcast for most of the world three separate times for over 25 minutes in total. Unfortunately, one of these times just happened to coincide with Miroslav Klose's brilliant header off a Philipp Lahm cross in the 79th minute to drill the ball past Turkish keeper Recber Rustu, which we didn't find out about until later. The feed came back just in time to see Semih Senturk work his magic again, snatching a desperate late equalizer for the Turks by sliding in to knock what looked like an easy ball for Lehmann to collect past him into the back of the net.

The Germans weren't finished yet, though. In stoppage time, Lahm made a great run forward from his wingback position, put a brilliant move on Colin Kazim-Richards and played a beautiful give-and-go with Thomas Hitzlsperger to break into the box. Rustu came out and cut down his angle, but Lahm made no mistake on the finish from 12 yards out, slotting it into the top left corner. Unfortunately for the Turks, they'd already used up not only their supplies of last-minute miracles, but probably those of the entire footballing world. Unfortunately for the viewers, another power outage meant we didn't get to see their last-ditch attempt.

It was a remarkably even game overall. The Germans only recorded nine shots to Turkey's 22, and only five of those were on target, but they made the most of their limited opportunities while Turkey wasted many of theirs. The first half was all Turkey, but the Germans showed their class in the second, and the end result was probably fair. An amazing stat is that Turkey made it through five matches and ten hours of play during this tournament, but only led for 14 minutes. They gave a great account of themselves, and we'll hopefully see more from them in the future. In the end, it truly was a feast of football... just with portions slightly charred by the power surges.

- Stephen Brunt's great column, focusing on Lahm's contributions (and so what if he can't spell Low or Hitzlsperger?). [The Globe and Mail]
- Ben Knight has an excellent piece comparing Turkey's run this time around with Greece's tournament four years ago. [On Soccer]
- Duane has a good recap of the game (complete with an awesome picture). [Out of Left Field]
- Brunt has a hilarious story about his train trip to Austria. [On Soccer]

On deck today: Spain vs. Russia (Kick-off: 2:45 P.M. ET)
Should be a great match. Russia will give Spain a run for their money, but like I predicted yesterday, I think the Spanish will advance in the end. Either way, we'll have a fantastic matchup for Sunday's final.

1 comment:

  1. You stole my headline!!!!


    Wuddya reckon for Spain v Germany?