Corny headline? Yes. Unjust conclusion to the second quarterfinal at Euro 2008? Yes.
Turkey has no business being in this tournament as it is, let alone being in the semi-final. They play dirty football, and don't deserve to carry on. They basically sit 10-behind-the-ball all match, then go behind, wait until the end to attack and score. Not to mention the Referee crowding, the whining and all the other bullshit that goes along with a side who don't belong in a tournament. That doesn't annoy me so much, when they attack they play beautiful stuff... what annoys me is waiting for the "when". This is a team capable of playing good football, yet they choose not to. And I have absolutely no idea as to why.
A bit of a game summary then? No. Croatia pulled ahead with about two minutes remaining in extra time, then decided not to waste away the rest of the match, and continue with open play. Probably not the best idea in the world. Turkey then scored a tying goal two minutes into injury time of extra time (when only one minute was given by the referee), then won on penalties.
We're not going to get into how much I hate the idea of finishing a team game on individual heroics, because there's a much less talked about controversy. Croatia wanted to bring on a substitute, a defensive midfielder, after their goal. The referee fourth official didn't allow him on. There was a stoppage in play before Turkey's goal, the fourth official didn't let him on. Then Turkey scored. It's impossible to argue that having the defensive midfielder on the pitch would have stopped the Turk's goal, but it's also impossible to argue that they absolutely would have scored had he been there. As a defensive midfielder, he would have been aware of the possibility of counter-attack on the goal kick after Croatia's attack, and could have tracked back and stopped the play to score.
Not to mention that Turkey's goal came two minutes into a one minute extra time.
The referees effectively won the game for Turkey, so good on them. I was amazed to see Slaven Bilic almost lose his cool and knock out the fourth official, but I would say he was entirely in the right to do it.
Croatia played as good football as they could against a dour and talentless Turkish side. The Turks are bringing down the tournament's entertainment, and legitimacy, factor.
Maybe UEFA should reconsider allowing countries whose populations don't exist in the physical continient of Europe into tournaments like this (Israel and Turkey).
At any rate, the semi final is now Germany v Turkey. You all know how I think that's going to go. Come on you Germans!!!
Netherlands v Russia today, I hope I can watch it as I'm at the Journal right now, we'll see what happens. If you do watch it though, it should be an incredibly exciting, fast, attacking game. Enjoy!