(CNN) -- German newspapers breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday following their national team's last-gasp win over Turkey in an epic European Championship semifinal.
Pictures of Phillip Lahm's winning goal dominated German front pages Thursday.
"What madness! Our nerves!" said the tabloid Bild, warning that Germany would have to raise their game to stand any chance in Sunday's final after a performance in which they had often been outplayed but grabbed victory with Philipp Lahm's last-minute goal.
"There was no trace of the thrilling, rapid and direct play we saw against the Portuguese in the quarterfinals. Was it arrogance or nerves?" said Bild, concluding: "It was so beautiful -- but it was also so cruel."
Germany had gone into the match as overwhelming favorites against a Turkish side decimated by injuries and suspensions but the Suddeutsche Zeitung admitted that it had been the underdogs who had been the better team.
The Berliner Zeitung described the match as a "Horror movie with a happy ending," adding: "The German team's performance in this championship has been hard to understand. The level of their play has been as erratic as that of a bunch of pubescent players."
Turkish newspapers meanwhile paid tribute to the efforts of a side which had gone much further in the tournament than most had dared to hope on the back of thrilling come-from-behind group stage wins over Switzerland and Czech Republic and a dramatic penalty shootout win over Croatia in the quarterfinals.
Even against Germany, Fatih Terim's side had threatened to pull off another miracle, taking a first half lead through Ugur Boral and then drawing level at 2-2 late in the game when Semih Senturk found the net with his third goal of the tournament.
"Don't be sad, we won," said Hurriyet. "Turkey lost out but all the world applauded Turkey. Turkey bade farewell to the championship with a goal they conceded in the last minute of a game in which they played perfectly."
The paper also congratulated Turkish and German fans for the spirit in which they had watched the match together: "The friendship that began outside the stadium before the match continued inside the stadium during the game. Thousands of fans carried Turkish and German flags and backed their teams arm-in-arm." Watch German fans in Zurich celebrate their team's success »
When a second half power cut interrupted television coverage of the match across Europe, Time reported that German and Turkish fans gathered in a Berlin beer garden had huddled together to listen to the action on radios.
Sabah said that Turkey's players had become "champions of the heart," adding that the world had given them a "standing ovation" as they said goodbye to the tournament.
"Yes, Turkey finally ran out of miracles," said Zaman, adding that the country could start looking forward to the 2010 World Cup.
"The Turks went farther than anyone had anticipated, despite a string of injuries and suspensions incurred along the way, thereby proving behind reasonable doubt that they are a team to reckon with in Europe and the world."
German newspapers also praised Germany's large Turkish migrant population, who had celebrated their homeland's successes earlier in the tournament on the streets of Berlin and other European cities -- and urged them to get behind Germany for the final.
"We are going to Vienna and we are taking the Turks with us," said Bild.
Asking a young Turkish fan in Berlin whether he would be rooting for Germany in the final, Time reported that his answer had been emphatic: "Definitely!"
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|