Fairytale ends for Turkey
Lewis Rutledge does not feel Germany can go on to lift the trophy after an unconvincing win over Turkey.
Last Updated: 25/06/08 11:00pm
Germany may have progressed to the final of Euro 2008 with a remarkable 3-2 win over Turkey but it was a moral victory for Fatih Terim's side in Basel.
Prior to kick-off every expert under the sun was predicting a comfortable night for Germany, but it was clear after just a few minutes that Turkey were not there just to make up the numbers.
Depleted by injuries and suspensions, the Turkey players still had the belief and the ability to put Germany under pressure from the start and former Sheffield United forward Colin Kazim-Richards almost opened the scoring as he rattled the crossbar in the 13th minute.
Turkey were rewarded for their early dominance when Ugur Boral squeezed a shot past Jens Lehmann, and while the performance of the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper was less than convincing, he received little help from his team-mates.
Germany seemed devoid of ideas in possession and lethargic when they did not have the ball, and they were fortunate to reach half-time on level terms thanks to Bastian Schweinsteiger's well-taken goal.
Chelsea's Michael Ballack, so impressive against Portugal, was unable to boss the midfield and was such a peripheral figure that it was easy to forget he was actually on the field.
Turkey, by contrast, were full of running and looked dangerous every time they could get at a creaky Germany defence, with Kazim-Richards and Semih Senturk particularly sharp.
Germany took a 2-1 lead against the run of play when Miroslav Klose seized on a terrible mistake from Rustu Recber, but Turkey's heads did not drop as they have proved time and again in this tournament that they thrive on adversity.
Switzerland, Czech Republic and Croatia have all fallen victim to Turkey over the last few weeks and it was perhaps no surprise that Semih Senturk made it 2-2 with just four minutes to go, Lehmann again at fault.
However, there was no happy ending for the comeback kings on this occasion as Philipp Lahm atoned for a poor display with a fine winning goal.
Turkey will have won many admirers for the way they played but it is Germany who will contest the final in Vienna on Sunday against either Russia or Spain.
It is often said in sport that great sides are able to win without playing at their best and Germany have proved they are masters at that, so they deserve credit for fighting their way through the draw.
However, reviewing their five matches so far it appears they have little chance of lifting the trophy at the weekend and they should not be regarded as favourites.
Where Germany were so effective against Portugal was their expertise in set-pieces, and they could take advantage of Russia's vulnerability in that area if Guus Hiddink's side advance past Spain.
But neither Russia nor Spain will be living in fear of Germany and I cannot see this tournament throwing up one final twist.