Turks turn to Coca-Cola Kid

COLIN KAZIM-RICHARDS is set to complete his journey from League Two to Euro 2008 quarter-finalist when Turkey face Croatia in Vienna tonight (7.45pm).

The 21-year-old, who was born in Leytonstone, east London, started at Bury before moves to Brighton, Sheffield United then Fenerbahce a year ago, just after he made a choice on which country to represent. Now he’s involved in a European Championship quarter-final.

‘‘It’s a chance for us to make history. I think we have a very good chance. We just beat the Czechs who were bigger favourites than Croatia. But Croatia are a very good team,” said Kazim-Richards, who qualifies for Turkey as his mother was born in the Turkish side of Cyprus.

Kazim-Richards, nicknamed “Coca-Cola Kid”, is expected to feature at Ernst Happel Stadium tonight as Turkey have been struggling with injuries and suspensions.

“I have 15 players and two goalkeepers,” said coach Fatih Terim.

Goalkeeper Volkan Demirel and midfielder Mehmet Aurelio are suspended, while Emre Gungor has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament.

Elsewhere, Servet Cetin will not make the game, Emre Asik is recovering from a head injury against Switzerland and Gokhan Zan is not yet fully fit following a knee injury.

Emre Belozoglu and Tumer Metin are also struggling, with hamstring and groin problems respectively.

Terim has refused to call up a replacement to ease his injury worries and will not abandon his approach, insisting he will not play for penalties against Croatia.” I didn’t train for penalties in the last match and I haven’t talked about extra-time,” he added. “I hope we finish everything in 90 minutes or before that. We are also ready for other options.

“We have no change in our philosophy.”

“I’ve always said I’m confident in the squad and will not call anyone up.

‘‘This has been my stance from the beginning and there are no excuses.”

Despite the disruption this week, Terim is hoping his side will continue with the momentum gained after coming from two goals down against Czech Republic to earn a place in the last eight.

He added: “There have been many incredible things that have happened in this tournament and anything is possible.”


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