Accessibility links

World Cup: Turkey Ready to Face Brazil - 2002-06-25

Turkey will take on four-time champion Brazil Wednesday in the semi-finals of the World Cup football tournament in Japan. The winner will move on to meet Germany in Sunday's championship match. The Turks are looking for revenge after losing to the Brazilians earlier this month.

The Turks and the Brazilians battled June 3 in a hard-fought, first round match in Ulsan, South Korea. The game was not decided until the 87th minute, when Rivaldo converted a disputed penalty shot to give Brazil a 2-1 victory.

Turkey's head coach, Senol Gunes, said his team did not deserve to lose the game. He said a mistake by the referee left his players very upset with the result.

Now the Turks, who have advanced to the semifinals for the first time in their history, will try to overcome the odds and beat the Brazilians. Many football followers are picking Brazil to defeat Turkey and go on to capture a fifth World Cup crown. One of them is a sports reporter for Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Yo Takatsuki, who said "Brazil looks too good at the moment. They've been scoring far too many goals, and I think they'll win it [the World Cup]. I think they've been superb. I thought they would be coming into the World Cup disorganized, with lots of attitude problems. But no, they've been a very good unit, very tight. They play very beautiful attacking football ... not fast, but lots of skills [with] beautiful, fluid passing movement. And when you have Rivaldo and Ronaldo and other players like Roberto Carlos and Ronaldhino on your team, you give yourself a chance every time."

One of the Brazilian stars just mentioned, though, Ronaldhino, will not play against Turkey after receiving a red card in Brazil's 2-1 quarterfinal victory over England. Ronaldhino set up the first goal against the English, and scored the second on a long-range free kick. Brazilian legend Pele says the absence of Ronaldhino in the match against Turkey is a big loss for Brazil.

But the Brazilians still have Rivaldo and Ronaldo, who have each scored five goals during the World Cup. That leaves them tied with Germany's Miroslav Klose in the competition for the Golden Boot award, given to the World Cup's top scorer.

One of Turkey's top scorers is speedy and creative striker Hasan Sas, who had his team's goal in the first match against Brazil. Midfielder Tugay Kerimoglu, defender Alpay Ozalan, and goalkeeper Rustu Recber are three other key Turks who have played well during the World Cup. Head coach Senol Gunes says his team has a 50-50 chance of beating Brazil. The Turks have already beaten the odds in getting this far, and in a World Cup of surprises, maybe another surprise is in store.