Turkey had fought an uphill battle for the majority of the Euro tournament. Overcoming the Czech Republic late in the game to fight off elimination, defeating Croatia with the injuries and suspensions of seven players, and then facing Germany for the chance to compete for the European Championships for the first time.
Still facing the same roster handicap going into the semi final match, Turkey seemed confident. Having bested Croatia, who defeated Germany in the groups, Turkey had every reason to believe that they had a good shot.
This confidence showed as soon as the match started. Turkey was the dominant squad in the first half, scoring first and looking strong for the first 45 minutes. Germany wasn't going to take defeat lying down however, scoring only five minutes after Turkey got on the scoreboard.
The score remained even well into the second half. Germany looked like the stronger club in the back end, but couldn't hit the back of the net until eleven minutes left in the game.
Turkey is well known for late goals and come-from-behind victories, and the last ten minutes were very exciting to watch. Turkey was working so hard to tie it up that I believed this underdog team could actually come back and send this game into overtime. Then they did it, Turkey scored with four minutes left in the game.
The Germans had no desire to go home now, after fighting so hard to make it this far. They continued to use their momentum from the goal earlier, even after Turkey scored, to prevent this game from going into overtime. Turkey has won most of their games in the final ten minutes or later, and that thought probably motivated the German team to get this over with now.
That's exactly what Germany did. Philipp Lahm scored just as the game went into stoppage time to end Turkey's Cinderella story. It was still a great run for Turkey, making it to the semi- inals was a good milestone for the team to reach.
I'm sure that the Turks will be back with the same motivation for the World Cup and the next European Championships after seeing their performance this year.
The Turkish side had so many more opportunities to score, getting fifteen shots on goal over the course of the game. Germany's goaltender Jens Lehmann did a great job stopping the shooting onslaught from the Turks to send Germany into the finals against Spain or Russia.
My money is still on Spain.