The Turks have struck once again proving they are the best. Maybe Turkey's football team is not the strongest or the best in terms of skills and tactics, but the team showed extraordinary will and fighting ability till the last seconds of their matches. For the third match in a row, the Turks were able to transform their loss into an enormous victory in the last seconds of the match. After their killer victory over Switzerland 2-1 in the last minute of the injury time and their magnificent victory over Czech Republic 32 in the last 15 minutes, the Turks were once again able to come back and have a historical victory over Croatia when Semih Senturk scored the equalizer in the last seconds of the injury time after the second extra time (minute 121).
Turkey's match with Croatia was one of the most dramatic games. A great director of suspense like Alfred Hitch*censored* wouldn't have dreamed of such excitement.
Up until the last two minutes of the match, no one could have ever expected the thrilling end of this game. Croatia scored a killer goal in minute 118, one and half minute before the end of the second extra time. Celebrating their victory and almost 100-percent sure that they are off to the next round, the Croatians couldn't believe themselves when Senturk scored his most precious goal ever.
Just 30 seconds ahead of the final whistle of the match, Senturk equalized, making the score 1-1, and emphasized the Turks' great will and fighting enthusiasm. The Turks taught the whole world a lesson on fighting till the last moment.
Going for the penalty kicks with high morale, the Turks were in control again. On the other side, the Croatians were too frustrated that they missed three out of four penalty kicks. The Turks scored three out of three penalty kicks, moving themselves to the semifinals through a pinhole.
Click here to watch Turkey's goals
Over the decades, Turkey has failed to integrate into Europe. However, the Turks never gave up their attempts to join the EU. Now, Turkey has managed to integrate into the European football through its national team and football clubs.
The Turkish team was strongly present in Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002; however, it couldn't gain a foothold in European football. A few years later, Turkey's football team proved that sport can do what politics cannot. The Turks were able to prove that they really deserve to be part of Europe, at least when it comes to football, if not economy and politics.
In Euro 2008, the Turkish team reached the semifinals for the first time in history, showing great skill, will, and fighting spirit. With four players (originally from Turkey) playing as naturalized citizens in Switzerland and Austria, the Turks were able to prove their full integration into Europe's football and their ability to stand head to head with other European nations.
Furthermore, one should not overlook the fact that football clubs in Turkey were also able to gain the respect of all Europeans when Fenerbahçe S.K. reached the quarterfinals of UEFA Champions League 2007-2008.
On the whole, one can now say that football has done what politics and economy have failed to do with regard to Turkey's accession to the EU and integration into Europe.
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