The Turkish have been playing some inspiring soccer in the last week or so. Their stunning comeback against the Czech Republic remains one of the gems of Euro 2008. The question surrounding them today is do they have enough players to reproduce a similar performance against a team many consider the top in the tournament (with apologies to Spain)? Turkey will be without six players — four to suspension and two to injury — when they kick-off against Michael Ballack and company and because of that, you have to wonder about their chances.
Not only that, Turkey also has injury questions about three other players who may try and perform despite their maladies. However, if they can’t, Turkey may only be playing with 13 total players. Full squads have 23. Again, this can’t be great news when you are getting ready to play the Germans, a team with no noticeable injury issues and a team that’s been playing brilliant offensive football.
The German defense hasn’t been too bad either, giving up only four goals to their seven. While that may average out to giving up a goal-a-game, Jens Lehmann has posted two shutouts in four games. When not discussing the abilities of their goalie, the main focus of the German squad is the aforementioned Michael Ballack. The great midfielder has netted two goals in four games and spurring a German attack that’s scored in every Euro 2008 game they’ve played.
While this game could be analyzed to death, you get the feeling it comes down to this — Germany’s full-strength squad versus Turkey’s depleted side. It’s hard to believe a team with some many questions about their players availability would be able to ultimately withstand the German onslaught.
Of course, don’t tell the Turkish side that because I don’t think they’d hear you. Furthermore, if Germany is as smart as they play, they wouldn’t believe the depleted side hype either.
Kick-off is at 2:30/1:30 Central on ESPN. Thank goodness for their 360 offering.
H/t to Euro 2008 Girls for some of the images.