â†µAndy Gray deserves praise not only for his virility -- five children by four different women -- but for being so charismatically mercenary as an announcer that, when he begins rooting openly for one team over another halfway through a match, you don't actually care that he's violated the principal of neutrality. â†µ
â†µFortunately, the rest of the world doesn't care about that in sports coverage, and neither do I, meaning Andy and I both openly pulled for the outnumbered, and outmanned Turks. They're a collection of 14 players missing several important cogs in the comeback machine propelling Turkey back to the semifinals against a well-rested, deep, and extremely experienced German team. Turkey flipped their '08 script by actually scoring first on a deflection off the cross bar, which for any other team would be a fine sign. Germany served the role of accomplice by playing like they'd sent Sweden out in their kits, dulling along for the first half with only one moment of brilliance serving as the equalizer. At the half, 1-1 looked like a precursor to fine, entertaining madness. â†µ
â†µ â†µThen, something emotion can't do anything about happened: lightning, which struck in a literal fashion three times during the second half, knocking out the signal for the entire world. There were three metaphorical strikes, too: Miroslav Klose popped through a header during one blackout, Turkey equalized seconds out of the second blackout, and then, in heavy-handed symbolic fashion, Philip Lamm snuck in a blast behind an out-of-position Rustu seconds into injury time. The final point sent the German fans into paroxysms so powerful they knocked the feed out completely for the third time. ESPN viewers had to guess when the game ended based on the only footage they could watch: shots of German fans cheering wildly outside the stadium. â†µâ†µ
â†µTurkey accomplished two things. First, they went farther and on less actual fuel than any other team in the tournament, pulling a noble moonshot of a run made even more difficult by injuries and suspensions incurred along the way. Second, they elevated the lowly toughness rating of soccer players in the United States by being captured on-camera shooting staples into the head of a soccer player: â†µâ†µâ†µ
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