Just finished watching Germany play Turkey in one of the semifinal matches of the Euro 2008 tournament. I enjoyed a smooth, malty Jubelfestbier from Bamberg during the match in support of Germany, though I’ve been very impressed by the Turkish team, and am sorry to see them go. They made some amazing comebacks, but time ran out on them tonight.
There have been some incredibly exciting matches in this year’s tournament. From the complete domination of the Dutch over Italy and France, Turkey’s astonishing last minute heroics against the Czech Republic and Croatia, to the skillful attacking from both sides in Germany versus Portugal, it’s been a great tournament for a neutral spectator.
In today’s match, Germany’s Philip Lahm was burned time after time on defense, especially on the Turk’s second goal. On the other hand, the referee should have awarded the Germans a penalty kick when a Turkish defender clattered into Lahm just inside the penalty box. Instead, he didn’t even call a foul. But at the end, Lahm became the hero by scoring a brilliant goal in the last minute of regular time.
I would normally pick Spain to easily defeat Russia in the other semifinal (after all, they already beat them 4-1 in group play), but the Russians have pulled themselves together and are playing great soccer. This is by far the best Russian team I’ve ever seen, but I still think the Spaniards are the best team and have the best chance to win it all.