Thanks for the memories, Turkey

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:58 AM ET

BASEL -- Turkey will not win Euro 2008.

But when the history of this tournament is written, Turkey's accomplishments will fill many chapters.

Turkey's storybook run ended yesterday with a 3-2 semifinal loss to Germany.

But not before Turkey had yet again, provided fans with another thrill, another comeback from the brink.

In keeping with the way Turkey lived during the tournament, offering thrill after thrill, it seemed only fitting they died the same way, after one of best games in soccer in recent memory.

The Turks came to Switzerland and Austria with no one expecting much from them.

They leave with kudos ringing in their ears.

Turkey was called defiant, tough, courageous, heroic, entertaining and much more.

"I'm proud of my players and their desire," said coach Fatih Terim.

Well, he should be.

The banner passed hand-to-hand by Turkey fans before the game said: "Don't Try This At Home. Only Turks Make Miracles."

The list of Turkey's compelling wins has been well-documented. First, it was the Swiss in injury time. Then, Turkey came back to score three goals in 15 minutes to beat the Czechs. Later, it was a last-kick goal to tie Croatia and a win on penalties.

Last night, Germany took a lead with less than 11 minutes to go. Six minutes later, Turkey tied it.

But Germany's Philipp Lahm made Turkey swallow some of its own medicine. He scored in the 90th minute to end the dream run.

Turkey deserved a better fate.

"In the last couple of games, teams were better than us and we won," said Turkish forward Kazim Kazim. "(Last night) we were better and we lost."

Whatever Turkey accomplished, it accomplished it the hard way. Turkey ran into numerous suspensions -- four players missed last night's game -- and injuries.

But Turkey never stopped working or believing, in large part due to Terim.

He's as entertaining as his team, gesturing, waving, engaging officials on the sidelines. But he's also a very good coach, getting the most out of his players.

His players love him. When Semih Senturk scored the tying goal, he ran to embrace Terim first.

After the game, Terim, who has coached Turkey since 2005, sounded like he was finished with the national team.

"I hope the next person will make them (Turkey) champions," Terim said. "I will probably go to a European country, but it will not be proper to say it now before I talk to the president (of the Turkish football federation).

"We have done something that Turkey haven't been able to do in the last 70 or 80 years. The players should not feel bad. "

In 2002, Turkey finished third in the World Cup. But their program stagnated until Terim took over.

"(This tournament) showed the world what a good team we are," Terim said.


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