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Co-hosts Switzerland eliminated by Turkey
Mike Collett | June 12, 2008 02:49 IST
Switzerland [Images] saw their Euro 2008 [Images] hopes dashed by a last-gasp winner from Turkey's Arda Turan that secured a 2-1 victory to end the co-hosts' prospects of reaching the last eight in an entertaining Group A match on Wednesday.
The result also means that Portugal, who earlier beat Czech Republic 3-1, became the first team to reach the quarter-finals and are top of the group with six points ahead of the Czechs and Turkey on three with the Swiss bottom with no points.
Arda struck two minutes into added time with a deflected shot that flew over the head of Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio to keep Turkey afloat in the tournament after torrential rain had reduced the St Jakob Park pitch to a quagmire.
Switzerland had taken the lead in the 32nd minute with a goal from Hakan Yakin but Turkey equalised through substitute Semih Senturk after 57 minutes to set up the victory.
A 30-minute downpour that began soon after kickoff made conditions in the first half almost unplayable as the increasingly rain-sodden surface became dotted with puddles.
For a few minutes it looked as if the match might have to be abandoned, but the worst of the rain passed by halftime and the pitch improved in the second period. While it remained slippery the players were at least able to hold their footing.
Switzerland went ahead with a goal that owed as much to the conditions as to the quick thinking of forward Eren Derdiyok, who turns 20 on Thursday.
Forced out wide he hit a hard low cross into the box that eluded goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, and bounced in and out of a puddle before falling perfectly for Yakin who poked it into the empty net from two metres.
Yakin, one of three Swiss in the squad who holds dual Swiss-Turkish nationality, turned away with his head down rather than joyously celebrating the goal.
Turkey equalised when halftime substitute Semih outjumped Swiss skipper Ludovic Magnin to reach Nihat Kahveci's cross and power an unstoppable header past keeper Diego Benaglio.
Yakin had had a golden opportunity to double the lead two minutes after scoring when he skewed the ball wide from close range after a cross from Valon Behrami.
Turkey had almost taken the lead themselves three minutes before Switzerland went ahead when Arda headed against Diego Benaglio's post, but although they also attempted to put passing moves together they rarely threatened to score.
The second half was evenly balanced and Volkan had to make a fine double save from Yakin and Swiss substitute Ricardo Cabanas late on before Arda fired home the winner for Turkey in time added on from the edge of the area to secure the points.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008