My heart goes out today to all my Croatian pals up North, most of who are probably waking up this morning and hoping the Croatia / Turkey ending was just a bad dream.
After 119 minutes, Croatia finally got on the board, and appeared to be on their way to the semi's with a 1-Nil victory over a scrappy Turkey squad. Then 2 minutes into stoppage time (of the extra 30), on most likely the last play of the game, the Turkey GK sends a 3/4 field long ball to the top of the 18...it falls harmlessly to the foot of Semih Senturk, who promptly buries it in the back of the onion bag...1-1. Un. Fucking. Believable.
Here come the penalties. Three misses by Cro seals their fate. For 121 minutes, I had wished I was watching with my passionate Croatian pals. After the shocking ending, I was glad I wasn't. Images of Slaven Bilic consoling his players after the match were tough enough to handle.
Hats of to Turkey, who appeared to have spent all their last minute heroics in their last match of the Group Stage against CR...just to get to this game. But for the 2nd game in a row, the footie gods were on their side. Next up...Germany.
Prototypical American sentiment will say..."no goals for 119 minutes?!?!" Much like the majority of this Euro Cup, this match was highly entertaining drama...right down to the 122nd minute. Sport just doesn't get any better. Two + hours of inspiring athletic attrition with only 15 minutes of commercials at half time. Majestic.
Italy / Spain tomorrow. EVERYTHING.