I know IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not the only one to have said it, but I repeat once again, never write off the Germans. They didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play particularly well against Turkey and, on balance, they are probably lucky to be through to SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final. Having said that, one team can only have so much luck and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been there so many times before that it is more likely to be a knack than purely luck.
Turkey showed great endeavour and fighting spirit together with some real quality. They deservedly took the lead but we should have all realised the writing was on the wall when an outplayed Germany produced an equaliser out of nowhere just four minutes later.
Turkey continued to play well and with so many players missing through injury and suspension the excellence of their game seemed to surprise Germany and was to be really admired.
Germany took the lead but you just knew that the Turkish side would come fighting back at the death in the way they have done so many times in this tournament. So it was with six minutes left the excellent Philipp Lahm was caught out and Turkey scored their customary late equaliser. The celebrations were understandably wild as extra-time and maybe penalties looked like a distinct possibility.
Wild they may have been but unfortunately for the Turks, premature they definitely were. The Germans swept up the field and Lahm more than made amends for his shortcomings at the other end of the pitch by slotting home a slightly undeserved winner.
The Germans celebrated, knowing that they had been fortunate but that they were in the final. Turkey were devastated knowing they had come so close.
A special word of praise for Turkey forward player Colin Kazim-Richards who was excellent each time I watched him in the tournament. English footballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s loss is certainly Turkish footballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gain.
So, despite the courage, technical excellence and Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnever say dieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ attitude of Turkey, nobody, as they say, remembers the losers. It is all about Germany now, and their big day on Sunday when they will be looking to justify their position of being pre-tournament favourites.
Tonight we will find out who will be trying to stop them doing that. In a game that has all the ingredients to be a European Championship classic (I hope I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t jinxed it by saying that!) the attack minded, positive and talented Spain side take on the exciting tournament surprise package, Russia.
With David Villa and Andrei Arshavin battling it out as contenders for the title of the tournamentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most valuable player, which one will have the biggest influence on tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game? Villa opened the tournament with an excellent hat-trick and has added a goal to that tally since. He has looked lively and impressive and his partnership with Fernando Torres could just be the decisive factor in this game.
Arshavin, at the age of twenty-seven, is hardly an overnight success, but he has absolutely burst on to the world stage after an excellent performance against Sweden and then an outstanding master class in the surprise quarter-final win against Holland.
Spain are a good side. Russia are a little unpredictable, but as we have seen, on their day, are as good as anyone. It is a horribly difficult game to predict but one that I am excited about and canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait to start.
Whoever wins tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game will be faced by Germany on Sunday. That is a daunting prospect for any side. The Germans continue to be effective and efficient and always seem to have enough to do well in the big tournaments. They do not have particularly exciting or outstanding individuals. How many players from Germany would you pick in your team of the tournament?
In Michael Ballack they have an inspirational leader on the pitch who will not accept defeat as an option. He becomes a colossus when he puts on the German shirt and drives the side to greater things. I still think he will have enough to drive the Germans to victory in this competition whoever wins the right to try to stop them in tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game.
If Russia reproduce the performance they gave against Holland then Spain will find it hard to live with them. If Spain perform the way have they done on numerous occasions they will have too much for Russia. They beat Russia easily in the group stages but Arshavin was suspended for that one. Whether he will make enough of a difference remains to be seen.
Roll on kick-off time. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be good!
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