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Germany, Spain will seek to reimpose order PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 June 2008

REUTERS, TENERO, Switzerland - Three times winners Germany and heavily fancied Spain will try to impose belated order on a tournament that has defied logic when they meet outsiders Turkey and Russia in the Euro 2008 semi-finals.

After a quarter-final round that saw three of the four group winners eliminated along with world champions Italy, Germany look best placed to restore the traditional balance of power against escape artists Turkey in Basel on Wednesday.

Spain, who beat Italy on penalties on Sunday after a dour match finished goalless in 120 minutes, may have more problems in Vienna on Thursday against a Russia team who beat Netherlands with a thrilling extra-time display on Saturday.

After struggling a bit in the group phase Germany rediscovered their old ruthlessness to beat Portugal 3-2 in the quarter-finals, thanks to brilliant displays from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Ballack.

If they maintain that sort of form it is hard to see them being troubled by Turkey, who are down to just 13 outfield players after being ravaged by injuries and suspensions.

NO COMPLACENCY

Still, Germany know they have to guard against complacency when they face a team who have somehow wriggled off the hook in their last three games, culminating in a miraculous last-gasp comeback against Croatia in the quarter-finals.

"Before we can begin to think about the final we have Turkey to get past and the players cannot afford to get distracted," Germany's team manager Oliver Bierhoff said. "Turkey have shown they can always come back."

Spain, who won their sole European Championship in 1964, will have their work cut out to beat a Russia team with a tinge of 'oranje' via the influence of Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.

Russia, who were part of the Soviet Union when they became European champions in 1960, outplayed an outstanding Dutch team in extra time and will be determined to avenge a humiliating 4-1 defeat by Spain in their opening group game.

"We are not scared of anyone," defiant midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov told reporters.

Spain will trust that David Villa and Fernando Torres, the strikers who were nullified so well by Italy, find more opportunity to show what they can do against Russia.

The prize for victory will be a place in the Vienna final on June 29 at the end of a tournament that should be remembered for the quality of the football as well as surprise results.

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