We haven't practised penalties, boasts Turkey coach

In a do-or-die game against Czech Republic, Turkey's coach says his team is not practising penalties because "his players will do what they have to do.&quo

updated: June 22, 2008 07:06 IST
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Turkey coach Fatih Terim says his side have not practised taking penalties even though Sunday night's winner-takes-all clash against the Czech Republic could be decided by a historic shoot-out.

Both Turkey and the Czechs have identical records in Group A and should the scores be locked after 90 minutes here, the match will be decided by penalties with no extra-time played.

Even though this is both side's final pool game, the knock-out phase has arrived early and while the winners will go onto a quarter-final berth, the losers pack up and go home.

"We have not practised for penalty kicks," was the surprise answer given by the Turkish coach when asked if his side have taken precautions.

"We want to have done enough to win this game over 90 minutes, but if the occasion arises, my players will do what they have to do."

Having come from behind to beat co-hosts Switzerland 2-1 last Wednesday in Basel, after the first-half was blighted by torrential rain, Terim said he is hoping for drier conditions.

"The one thing I would like to change from the last match is the rain, I hope we won't have the same conditions as it gets very hard when it rains so heavily," he said.

"Our team is perhaps not very experienced in these kind of championships, but a hunger to do well is also important.

"We had to beat Switzerland and we did that, now we must do the same.

"We are used to playing under pressure."

Terim said he was disappointed with the Turkish media in the build-up to the game, who, he says, have falsely reported a row between him and Turkish Football Federation president Hasan Gogan last week.

And Terim said some reports claiming the squad are on a special bonus were also false.

"We see some false reports, there are some reports which make me feel sad and in fact there are more of these reports going on now," he said.

"It is hard to understand why there is so much criticism going on in Turkey.

"There are reports that I had a fight with the president of the Turkish Football Federation, but that is false and he put a statement on the website saying so.

"Now there are stories saying we will get special bonuses, but nobody has ever said anything about this from our squad.

"Why are we talking about these things less than 24 hours before such an important match?

"I am not happy about this and it is something we will look at when we get back to Istanbul."

History of fixtures between the two sides favours the Czechs, who have won three of the four meetings between the sides with one draw, but Terim says records are made to be broken.

"I have checked the statistics and generally the Czechs have always been more successful than us in meetings.

"We know the Czechs are very good on penalties, but perhaps the time has come for their luck to change."