Turkey take heart from Basel win
Thursday 12 June 2008
Turkey celebrate their last-gasp victory in Basel
Hamit Altıntop has hope for Turkey's Group A finale after their 2-1 win against Switzerland, saying: "If we play like we did in the second half, there is nothing to fear."
A goal down at half-time after Hakan Yakin put the co-hosts ahead amid a fearsome downpour in Basel, Turkey restructured at half-time, bringing on Mehmet Topal and Turkish Süper Lig top scorer Semih Şentürk. They were rewarded as Semih scored their 57th-minute equaliser before midfielder Arda Turan grabbed all three points with a deflected winning goal in added time.
"We started the way we wanted but then it started to rain," Altıntop told euro2008.com. "Before the match, [Fatih Terim] told us to play short passes, but that is very hard on that kind of pitch. We responded well, especially in the second half, so I think we are on the right track. With this morale boost, I hope we can show our best football and get the result from the third game against the Czech Republic. If we play like we did in the second half, there is nothing to fear."
Mehmet Topal said that a half-time team talk had helped Turkey pull back from the brink. "In my opinion, after the Swiss goal our morale was flagging, but our coach said: 'Don't give up.' And we did it, we didn't give up until the final whistle. Our goals were amazing. We are very happy to have taken three points from the co-host team."
Never say die
Captain in the absence of the injured Emre Belözoğlu, Nihat Kahveci set up Semih's equaliser before being replaced by Kazım Kazım five minutes from time. "We knew it would be a tough game and the rain complicated our task, but we didn't give up," he said. "We know how to recover from difficult situations. We did it in qualifying too, and we will do it again."
With Turkey and the Czechs now level on points with identical goals for and against, their meeting in Geneva is crucial. The winners will reach the quarter-finals, and the losers will be out, while a draw would see the last-eight position decided on a penalty shoot-out. Kazım Kazım said: "To be fair, they had some chances to score, but this is football – we scored the winner in added time. Now everything is in our hands. If we win, we go through – if the Czechs win, they go through. We will see."