The semi finals are upon on now with Germany and Turkey going to battle tonight and Spain and Russia meeting tomorrow night.
With both Portugal and Holland bowing out at the first knockout round the torch for entertaining play took a major hit. It’s now down to just Spain from the predicted list, but looking at how Russia tore apart Holland, they could be worthy torch bearers come Sunday evening.
First up are the Germans and the Turks.
The German machine has proved to be the most reliable in big tournaments, especially when it comes to knock out matches, and so they proved yet again this year. Portugal looked a class act in the group games and should have been heavily fancied to win this year, yet they came up shorter than the 3-2 scoreline suggests against a dominant Germany, focused purely on the prize on Sunday and on nothing else. A concern for Germany will be the misfiring of Mario Gomes, but so long as those around him, Podolski, Klose and Ballack are banging in the goals, they need not worry. Gomes will come right and tonight would be the time for that.
Turkey, amazingly, have led for a total of 9 minutes in all their matches thus far. Thats 9 minutes in 4 games. A remarkable statistic that best illustrates their never say die attitude. They play until the final whistle is heard, until the very end, and don’t give up until then. They have not lost a competitive match against Germany since 1984 and will relish the underdog tag that has followed them for almost all their games. They are down to the bare bones due to injury and suspension, but it would be the fool who counts them out just yet. And Germany are no fools. Turkey must feel like they have their name written on the trophy, that it is destiny and fate that is pulling them towards Sunday evening. Getting past the Germans will be the true test for any believer.
The Germans should be to strong for the Turks, but we said that of the Czechs and the Croats, so this one is too close to call. Should the Turks get through this tie it would be hard to argue against them deserving the title for their spirit alone.