Sport » Championships
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Turkey surprises everyone with its victory over Switzerland

Three years ago, Switzerland qualified for the World Cup with a tense win over Turkey. Now that the Turks have extracted their revenge, they are hoping for a berth in the European Championship quarterfinals.

"Tonight we reminded everyone a little bit about Turkey," coach Fatih Terim said after his team's 2-1 victory Wednesday. "Against the Czech Republic, we will be unforgettable."

Arda Turan scored the winning goal in the second minute of injury time, sending a right-footed shot from outside the area that deflected in off a Switzerland defender.

The loss eliminated co-host Switzerland from the tournament. The Alpine nation lost its opener to the Czech Republic 1-0 in a similarly close match.

"Of course the disappointment is huge," Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn said. "But I can't blame it on any player or anyone else. We lost twice unluckily."

Switzerland became only the second European Championship host to be eliminated before the last four. Euro 2008 co-host Belgium also failed to get through the group stage.

Substitute Semih Senturk also scored for Turkey, heading in a cross in the 57th minute, after Hakan Yakin had given Switzerland the lead in torrential rain in the 32nd.

"I did wish for rain to stop. I did pray to God for that," said Terim, who first thought the rain would help his team. "We couldn't predict mud in the middle of the summer."

Terim, known as the "Emperor," stopped short of predicting victory in the final group match on Sunday.

"God willing, we will win against Czech Republic and reach the next round," he said.

The result was enough to send Portugal through to the quarterfinals from Group A. The Portuguese beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in Geneva.

The game, which was played through a first-half downpour that left the field at St. Jakob Park soaked, was heading for a draw when Turan's shot hit defender Patrick Mueller and looped over goalkeeper Diego Bengalio.

The rain started after about 10 minutes, and the play turned increasingly sloppy as both teams sloshed around the field. Switzerland, however, managed to string together passes better than their opponents.

Yakin scored during the heavy rain, reacting quickly after a cross from 19-year-old Eren Derdiyok got stuck in a large puddle in front of goal. Like Yakin, Derdiyok is a Swiss of Turkish origin.

Yakin should have made it 2-0 just three minutes later, when Valon Behrami's cross went straight through the Turkey defense. With an open goal, Yakin pushed his point-blank effort wide.

He had another chance in the 84th minute, but goalkeeper Volkan Demirel made a diving save, reacting fast enough to snuff out Ricardo Cabanas' effort on the rebound.

Demirel also made key first-half saves to deny Tranquillo Barnetta twice. On the second, he dove with his left hand to push the winger's curling free kick just past the post.

Turkey had its best chance of the half in the 29th, after striker Tuncay Sanli was fouled on the right. Nihat Kahveci placed the free kick close to Bengalio, who punched the ball straight into the head of the onrushing Turan. The ricochet bounced off the right post and out for a goal kick.

Terim sought to boost his attack after the break by bringing Senturk and Mehmet Topal. But when the rain stopped, it seemed to help Turkey the most.

After Senturk's goal, Kuhn brought on Johan Vonlanthen for Barnetta, who still appeared short of his best after injuring his left ankle while training in May.

"I wanted to win the match," Kuhn said. "The team played really well. I'm not saying we played better but we had a chance to score a second goal."

The match was the first between the two teams since an ugly brawl three years ago in Istanbul that brought a rash of suspensions, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter even threatening at one point to ban Turkey from the 2010 World Cup. Blatter, a Swiss native, backed down.

That match ended 4-4 on aggregate, but Switzerland won a berth in the World Cup on the away goals rule.

Both teams downplayed the history in the run-up to the match and said they were focusing solely on football.

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