So Germany are through to Sunday’s final of the 2008 European Championships. A last-minute goal, by Phillipp Lahm, finally seeing off a gallant Turkish side.
The Turks came into this semi-final, on the back of spirited performances against Croatia and the Czech Republic. Performances that highlighted their depth of team-spirit and fighting qualities.
Spirit that was in evidence again tonight, as their equalising goal, eight minutes from time, looked to have secured them a well-earned draw.
But tonight they met their match. For this German side have rediscovered a sense of winability. Winability is more than just team-spirit. It’s a sense of knowing that you will find a way to win, however poorly you may be playing.
That someone in the side, will step up, and conjure something up, out of nothing. On any given night, you don’t know who that player will be. But when a team possesses the quality of winability, then you know that someone will.
A team with winability, is usually a team loaded with self-leaders. That is, individuals who will take responsibility for the team outcomes. Not leave it to someone else, and quietly blame them, when things go wrong.
But players with the mental strength, to recognise the key moments in a game, and find something within themselves, to produce something special.
Come the final of the European Championships, there will be no shortage of takers in this German team, when head coach Joachim Low, asks in the dressing-room, ‘who will step up for us tonight?’
Spain or Russia may have the technical expertise to trouble the Germans. But will that be enough, when their opponents are so skilled in the art, of winning the matches that count?