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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Euro 2008: Switzerland out, after Losing to Turkey

Switzerland has been out of Euro 2008 tournament after losing second group stage match against Turkey 2-1 today. With this victory, Portugal’s place in the quarter final has been ensured and now the quarter final race is confined between Czech Republic and Turkey.

The hosts got a solid stage in the match by creating a number of real chances throughout the first half. Turkish goal keeper Volkan Demirel was brilliant throughout the match and denied a number of possible Swiss goals. In the 19th minute, the goal keeper blocked a fiery shot by Gokhan Inler and four minutes later, Switzerland got another chance when Hakan Yakin fired an excellent shot at goal, but Volkan was ready to save it for a corner. Then just six minute later, Volkan appeared as rescuer for Turkey once again palming Tranquillo Barnetta’s free kick away for a corner. Three minutes later Switzerland was saved luckily when Nihat’s free kick from the right was punched by Swiss goal keeper Benaglio to clear, but only to find Arda Turan’s head and his header went off target.

Switzerland did not have to wait a long as Hakan Yakin scored to put the hosts ahead in the match in the 36th minute tapping in the pass off Philippe Senderos. However, Hakan Yakin turned villain after three minutes when he failed to keep Valon Behrami’s cross on the target, as his volley went wide. This is perhaps one of the easiest chances in the tournament. The first half ended up Switzerland leading 1-0 in the match. To tell the truth, Switzerland dominated the first half of the match. Actually, due to rain the ground got slippery and water was accumulated in many places of the field in the first half of the match. This caused problem for Turkey as they are used a playing short-pass football.

However, the scene turned different as soon as the second half kicked off, as Turkey came out to attack in a regular basis. They created a number of chances in the second half. During the interval, grounds men cleared water and Turkey got an improved condition and appeared with their natural style of football in the second half. Turkey got the equalizer thanks to a superb head by Semih Senturk twelve minutes into the second half of the match. Nihat provided a curly cross in from the left and the cross was met by the head of rising Semih Senturk for the confidence booster goal for Turkey. After the equalizer, Turkey went all out for a winner keeping the ball in the Switzerland half most of the time. However, Switzerland got an excellent chance with six minutes off the match, when Johan Vonlanthen’s shot was magnificently blocked by Turkey goal keeper Volkan, but the keeper needed second attempt to grip the ball properly just moment before Hakan Yakin reached over there in an opportunistic attempt.

The winning goal of Turkey came in the injury time of the match when Arda Turan scored a sensational goal after receiving a pass from the back and went on to a quick run down the right side and after cutting in, he hit a fiery shot at goal, but before taking it to the net, the ball took a deflection off Switzerland player Valon Behrami.

With this victory, Turkey now needs a victory over Czech Republic in the last group stage match in order to secure a quarter final berth. The equation is that the winner of the Czech Republic vs Turkey would join Portugal in quarter final from Group A. The second gal of Turkey broke down the hearts of millions of home fans in Switzerland and it stunned the Swiss players and Coach Kobi Khun. Now, Switzerland’s next match against group leader Portugal becomes a formality.

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