Germany enter Euro 2008 finals after beating Turkey (Lead)

June 26th, 2008 - 7:06 am ICT by IANS  

Basel (Switzerland), June 26 (DPA) Philipp Lahm scored a 90th-minute winner for Germany to beat Turkey 3-2 and reach the final of the European Championships in a semi-final thriller Wednesday in Basel. Germany had come from behind to level through Bastian Schweinsteiger and take the lead through Miroslav Klose, only for Turkey to fight back with a late Semih Senturk equalizer.

“It was an incredible game at the end. You can say we have done exactly what has made the Turks so strong - scored a goal in the last minute,” said Schweinsteiger.

Turkey, who had only led for a total of nine minutes in their four matches en route to the semi-finals, took the lead in the 22nd minute when Kazim Kazim, who had earlier blasted the ball against the crossbar, did so again. This time, though, the ball fell to Ugur Boral, who scored from close range, pushing the ball through the legs of German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

The Turks, who were playing in their first-ever Euro semi-final, led just four minutes as Schweinsteiger scored his third of the tournament from a Lukas Podolski cross.

Far from giving Germany confidence, the Turks - depleted by injuries and suspensions - surprisingly continued to dominate proceedings, but it was Germany who again ultimately demonstrated their winning mentality to reach a sixth European final.

“It was an incredible all-or-nothing fight right to the last second,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew.

“Now we’ve managed it, and that makes me really happy, of course. We just seem to have this winning mentality, but it was a wonderful performance from Turkish players and has been throughout the tournament.”

Turkey coach Fatih Terim said: “I am very sad. We were so close to the final. My players had deserved it and could have decided the match. We had a lot of injuries, but that is not an excuse.”

Loew decided to leave out Torsten Frings to keep the side that had beaten Portugal unchanged. Frings came on after the break after Simon Rolfes picked up a head injury after clashing with Ayhan Akman.

In the second half, Germany tried to raise the pace but certainly failed to take control.

Turkey looked the likelier team to score, but it was Germany who got in front when Klose was allowed an easy header in the 79th minute, after a mistake in coming out for the ball by veteran keeper Rustu Recber, who was clearly annoyed with himself.

Turkey, who had managed to turn around three matches in the tournament with late goals, managed to find the net again four minutes from time, when Semih got to a cross from Sabri to deflect the ball between Lehmann and the near post.

Turkish joy was short-lived, after Lahm conjured up a dramatic last-minute winner to send Germany into the final as they seek a fourth European title.

They now have to wait 24 hours to learn whether their opponents Sunday in Vienna will be Spain or Russia, who play the second semi- final Thursday in Vienna.

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