Turkey unfazed about facing Brazil

Turkey appears to be unfazed about their semi-final encounter with Brazil.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Saitama, Japan:

Turkey faces Brazil in Saitama on Wednesday in its first-ever World Cup semi-final, the pinnacle of Turkish soccer history. It now aims to avoid setting a record when it meets Brazil. Having already lost 2-1 to the star-studded Brazilians in the first round group games, the Turks don't want to become the first nation to lose twice to the same team at the same World Cup. "We have used our right to lose one game in the World Cup," Turkey coach Senol Gunes told a news conference ahead of the match. "This time, we will make sure that Brazil uses its right to lose one game too. In the first match, our target was to qualify. Tomorrow we will play to win," he added. This is the fifth rematch in World Cup history after West Germany-Hungary in 1954, Brazil-Czechoslovakia in 1962, Italy-Poland in 1982 and Brazil-Sweden in 1994. But none of these ended in two victories for one team. Brazil has won all its matches in the World Cup so far. After losing to Brazil in their opener, Turkey tied 1-1 with Costa Rica, but still managed to trail behind the South American powerhouse into the second round after a 3-0 victory over China. The Turks returned to the 2002 World Cup after a 48-year absence and surprised many with their offense, strong defense and disciplined play. "We did not get to the World Cup by chance, we've worked hard," Gunes said. "Both teams are full of star players high in technical capability. But the side which is more willing to win will make the difference tomorrow, and that will be us. From the beginning to the end, we will fight to win. We want to beat Brazil," he remarked. Turkey went ahead against Brazil in the group game and AC Milan midfielder Umit Davala said his team won't sit back on a lead if it goes ahead again. "I think this game will be very difficult. Both teams will play an offensive game to score," Davala said. "If we score, we have to keep attacking to find the second goal. If we withdraw to defensive lines than it would be difficult to beat Brazil," Davala claimed. Okan Buruk, who was sidelined two days before Turkey's first game against Brazil, has recovered. But Gunes said midfielder Hakan Unsal of Blackburn Rovers was still suffering from pain in his left knee. "Hakan's injury is a bit serious, we will look into his situation after today's medical tests," Gunes said. "Otherwise, we've no injuries, Okan is good," he said. (AP)