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Don´t write off injury-hit Turkey, warns Loew

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Jun 2008

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Germany coach Joachim Loew says his side can ill-afford to write off injury-hit Turkey ahead of Wednesday's Euro 2008 semi-final when the come-back kings look to claim another scalp.

Turkey have poached victory in each of their last three Euro 2008 games with last-gasp goals to floor their opponent when they themselves had looked dead and buried.

Having scored in injury-time to beat Switzerland 2-1 on June 11, Turkey then scored two goals in two minutes at the death four days later against the Czech Republic to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win which put them in the last eight.

And with virtually the last kick of the game in extra time, Semih Senturk equalised against Croatia to take last Friday's quarter-final to penalties and Turkey held their nerve to win the shoot-out 3-1 in Vienna.

Fatih Terim's squad of fighters are struggling with nine injuries or suspensions and have only 13 outfield players available, while Germany have their full squad fit following Thursday's 3-2 quarter-final win over Portugal.

But when asked if Turkey could be written off due to their depleted squad, Loew replied: “If you believe that, you only have yourself to blame.

“We are all familiar with the way Turkey play, they can always claw a goal back.

“That just seems to give them renewed energy late in the game which is deadly for their opponents.

“Turkey always believe in turning the tables and have hit back in situations where no one would have put a penny on them.

“Their goals against the Czechs and Croatia were real miracle situations.

“They go the distance, propelled by a strong national pride, Turkey are even more creative than Portugal, so we have to be in the right mindset.”

Loew says he will “crank up” the intensity in Germany's training in preparation and is hoping to have veteran midfielder Torsten Frings in the team, despite fractured ribs, but is yet to decide on tactics.

The Germany boss showed his nous last Thursday by fielding an inspired 4-5-1 formation.

Play-maker Bastian Schweinsteiger turned in a man-of-the-match performance as Germany caught Portugal napping to book their semi-final berth.

“The most important thing has been to keep the players grounded, after all we have seen how strong the Turks have become,” said 48-year-old Loew.

“We did well with a 4-5-1 formation, but my favourite is a 4-4-2.

“I will assess Turkey and decide which system to play and whether we will field one, two or maybe three strikers.

“No matter what formation we play, the players must put the work in.

“It's important we run and when you get that right, tactics don't really matter.”

After his side showed glimpses of complacency in their 2-1 group stage defeat at the hands of Croatia, Loew says he will not tolerate any arrogance against the depleted Turks.

“I know our team will be highly focussed, they have shown that already, if there is one thing we can – and will – avoid it is arrogance,” said Loew.

“There is a huge amount of concentration in the team, you can feel it in the air, we have to play to our own strengths.

“For any coach to be in the semi-final is a gift.”

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