A dramatic equalizer by Semih SentÃƒÂ¼rk helped Turkey move on to the Euro 2008 semi-finals after a 3-1 penalty shootout win, following a 1-1 draw with Croatia on Friday evening.
Croatia started brightly and nearly went in front in the 19th minute as Ivica Olic took a cross from Luka Modric, but his sliding shot hit the crossbar and the rebound was headed over by Niko Kranjcar.
Turkey came close on 38 minutes when Mehmet Topal blasted a 40-yard shot just inches wide of the far post with Stipe Pletikosa at full extension, but it went to half-time scoreless.
Croatia were easily the better team in that half and should have gone in front on 70 minutes as Ivan Rakitic blasted one over the top in space in the area.
Eventually it went to extra time, and Turkey improved and Semih hit a shot from the edge of the area 10 minutes in that didn’t miss the target by much, but it was Croatia that would strike.
In the 119th minute, RÃƒÂ¼stÃƒÂ¼ ReÃƒÂ§ber went to play the ball in the area, but a Croatian player beat him to it and crossed to the center where a grateful Ivan Klasnic headed home.
It appeared to be heartbreak for Turkey, but as they have done twice before in this tournament, they struck late, Semih firing home from 20 yards in the second minute of added time – of which there was schedule to be one – and the ball beat Pletikosa to send it to penalties.
Luka Modric missed the first penalty and Ivan Rakitic followed suit with Croatia’s third, leaving Turkey up 3-1 after three rounds. Mladen Petric then stepped up, but his shot was saved by RÃƒÂ¼stÃƒÂ¼ sending Turkey through to the semi-finals to face Germany.
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