Turkey tops the Celtics’ comeback

Three goals in final 15 minutes of regulation give the Turks a stunner of a win over the Czech Republic at Euro 2008. Plus: Soccer letters.

Topics: Basketball, World Cup,

Celtics over Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals was a pretty good comeback, but the Turks may have one-upped the Celts at Euro 2008.

Down 2-0 to the Czech Republic in the 75th minute of a match with a quarterfinal berth at stake Sunday night, Turkey scored to cut the lead in half. Then Turkey won the game in a wild finish in the rain.

Captain Nihat Kahveci scored in the 87th minute and again in the 89th, and Turkey survived the last few nervous minutes with forward Tuncay Sanli in goal, keeper Volkan Demirel having been red-carded for a dead-ball shove during injury time.

The equalizer came after Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech, possibly affected by the rain, dropped a routine catch on a cross.

Not much to say about it here. Just a hell of a game.

There was an interesting discussion after last week’s column headlined “(Feigned) death on the soccer pitch,” and since I was too late to make my replies before the letters thread closed, I’ll do that here, in annoying, ransom-note, italics for readers and regular type for me fashion.

bobotonto So, King, you may think you love the beautiful game, but I’m afraid your perspective is somewhat myopic.

I don’t love the Beautiful Game. I’m coming around to enjoying it some. My perspective is that of a casual newcomer fan, which I think by definition is myopic, but what I’m hoping for is that it’s also a fresh pair of eyes. I love watching my favorite sports with someone who’s interested, but not a fan. They say things like, “Why do you have to run to first base? Why can’t you run to third?” which kind of makes you think about the game in ways you’re not used to thinking about it.

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shannonr You loved faking when it allowed Italy to get past Australia last World Cup! Remember that fake “trip” that only you and the referee were fooled by that allowed Italy their penalty? I certainly do — I wrote you a letter about it!

You may have, but it wasn’t because I wrote that I was OK with Italy faking anything. I promise I never did.

But now you’re hating?! Is the only difference the fact that the team you were notionally supporting lost this time, instead of winning?

Well, the team that lost — Greece — is the team I was criticizing, so I don’t get your point, but here’s a spot for me to get into the Complicated Calculus of Teams I Root for, Euro 2008 division, which isn’t that complicated.

I do often root for Greece in the Olympics so I can hear that fabulous anthem, but in soccer they play the anthem first so there’s no need. I had no rooting interest in Sweden vs. Greece. Or pretty much any other match. In international soccer tournaments the Complicated Calculus goes: 1. USA (my homies); 2. Mexico (neighbors); 3. Any small non-European underdog team that has somehow qualified (plucky underdog); or 4. Brazil (hot fans).

All four are by definition N/A in Euro 2008.

Monkey Pants I agree with F-town that it [the example of playing dead cited in the column] is not [a good example of such weenieness]. Watch a replay of that goal online. There is at most one second of time elapsed from when the Greek player was hit (hard!) to when the goal is scored.

How long it took the goal to score is irrelevant. If it had taken 27 minutes, dude would have been lying there the whole time. He didn’t know when he went into hibernation that the goal was going to score in one second.

Isn’t “drawing a foul” a huge part of basketball strategy?

Yes. The worst, most annoying, most weenieish part.

kohoutek As many have already noted, players in all sports do whatever they can to gain an advantage. Corked bats, spitballs, flopping, doping, pushing off, crackback blocks, cut blocks (while a lineman is engaged), what have you. Diving, lamentable as it is, is the same sort of thing.

I disagree. Flopping/diving is a different category. Corking a bat or throwing a spitball is an attempt to gain an advantage in the playing of the game. Flopping and diving are an abandoning of the playing of the game in hopes that the referee will bail you out. It’s running to the teacher. It’s just plain, well, you know. Oscar Mayer.

Watch the reaction of most NFL players when they get pushed or shoved after the play, looking to draw the ref’s attention and a flag.

It is every bit as bad and annoying in football, hockey and basketball as it is in soccer, and this column has not been shy in saying so. We’re not anti-soccer-diving around here. Just anti-diving, period.

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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