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Turkey hopes to continue magic against Croatia


Vienna, Austria (Sports Network) - Turkey has been the most exciting country in the Euro 2008 finals so far, but coach Fatih Terim doesn't want to keep waiting until the last minute to win every game.

Turkey rallied to win its last two Group A games, the last an improbable three- goal comeback in the final 15 minutes of a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic.

Turkey needed the rally to advance to the quarterfinals to play Group B winner Croatia, which won its first three games, on Friday at Ernst Happel Stadium.

"Hopefully in the next match we will play as well as we did late on - but right from the beginning," Terim told UEFA's website.

Arda Turan, who scored in injury time in a 2-1 win over Switzerland, scored the first goal against the Czech Republic in the 75th minute and Nihat Kahveci had two goals in the last three minutes. Hamit Altintop had all three assists.

Terim was realistic about the amazing comeback.

"It wouldn't have mattered if we'd lost 2-0 or 4-0, so we had to go for it," he said.

Turkey (2-1-0), which dropped its only game to Portugal 2-0, will likely take the same approach against Croatia.

Especially without starting goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, who received a red card in injury time against the Czech Republic. He was suspended two games, meaning he would miss the semifinal against Germany on Wednesday, if his team advanced.

Rustu Recber, 35, will replace Demirel on Friday. But Terim isn't worried about losing Demirel or anyone else with a small injury because he feels his country has plenty of depth.

"We have players suspended and injured for the quarterfinals, but we have good reserves," Terim said.

"Our next opponents Croatia are a good team ... but so are we."

Croatia (3-0-0) continues to quietly take care of business. After winning its qualifying group - and keeping England out of the finals - Croatia just keeps winning matches.

After a lackluster performance in its opener, a 1-0 win over co-host Austria, Croatia defeated Germany 2-1 and ended group play with a 1-0 win over Poland in a meaningless game.

"It's a great achievement to win three games in a row, especially at a [UEFA] European Championship," Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said on UEFA's website.

Croatia has managed to overcome the loss of Eduardo, its star striker who had a major injury in February and missed the finals, but learned after Monday's game that striker Igor Budan is now done for the tournament.

Budan, who was the leading scorer for Parma in the Italian Serie A the last two seasons, is sidelined with a knee injury. In addition, defender Dario Knesevic will miss the rest of the tournament after straining knee ligaments.

Bilic insists that Croatia will be fine, though, on offense and defense. And he will do everything he can to make sure Croatia avoids a late collapse.

"We're not worried. We'll be cautious and we'll be prepared because they've come back twice," Bilic said, "but of course I'd like us to score first."





06/19 18:05:29 ET

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