First of all, let me say what a super performance Germany gave last night. They tactically outclassed Portugal from the get go and thoroughly deserved their win. Anyway, enough of yesterday, now for today’s big clash. Before yesterday, I’d have put my house on Croatia winning this game, now I’m not so sure I don’t have a niggle like yesterday but Turkey have shown you write them off at your peril. The Croats have played some excellent stuff in this tournament but Turkey have shown tremendous nous and spirit to come back from the dead in two straight games.
Realistically though, Croatia started slowly but have begun to improve game on game, their second string beating Poland 1-0 with a goal from Klasnic and I honestly think that Luka Modric has been one of the star players at this tournament so far. Turkey need to get a man marker on him and try to stifle his creativity. Having said that though, Germany put Frings on him and he danced around him like a statue. Turkey’s danger man is Turan; he loves to come from deep and attack the ball, playing off Nihat and Tuncay. Will Croatia go like for like or simply get the ball down and try and play their way through? Turkey have also lost first choice keeper Voltan after Jan Koller’s acrobatics, so Rustu Recber comes in for his for his record extending 117th cap tonight and the former Barcelona player will be keen to show he’s lost none of his abilities at 35 years of age.
Turkey have shown us all that they are a fast breaking team who play positive, possession football. Both sides have shown that they like to play good attacking football and play with pride for their nations. It is a lesson England would do well to try and emulate in future under Capello. The British press are complaining that this is the weakest of the 4 games but I’m disappointed to hear that type of criticism. Then again, the commentary in last night’s Portugal v Germany game was so biased toward Portugal as to be embarrassing, Ronaldo’s personal fan club defending his every action, slating every German challenge on him and then they didn’t bother interviewing any German players at the end which was really sad to see. Old habits die hard in British football coverage even in 2008.
Both sides fully deserve to be here and I think we’ll get a great game of football. Using my head, I’m going for a Croatian win, maybe 3-2 or 2-1, but if Turkey get a late goal, hold on tight because we’ll get a grandstand finish.