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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Euro 2008: Switzerland 1 x Turkey 2: Calm Amidst the Storm

Switzerland v Turkey - Group A Euro 2008
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Hakan Yakin, the Swiss number 10, was born in Basel to Turkish parents. Gokhan Inler, number 8, and Eren Derdiyok, number 12, also have Turkish backgrounds.

As is often the case in world football, a young man has to make a difficult choice. Play for your country of birth, or for the homeland of your parents. Hakan Yakin scored the first goal on a rainy night in Basel. Semih Senturk equalized for the Turks, and during injuy time, Arda Turan scored the game winner that crushed Swiss hopes.

The last time these two teams met during a playoff for World Cup 2006, there were significant problems after the game in Istanbul. Players on both sides were fined and suspended. The Swiss, despite losing in Turkey, advanced on away goals.

"World soccer's governing body FIFA handed out six-match bans to Turkish players Alpay and Emre and Swiss midfielder Benjamin Huggel, later reducing Emre and Huggel's to four games. Turkey were also ordered to play their first three Euro 2008 qualifiers on neutral ground behind closed doors."

Source: ESPNsoccernet.

Emre was one of the Turkish players on the flooded pitch tonight, and Huggel was on the Swiss bench. When all the elements, both from above, on the pitch, and in the terraces, could have created major problems, both sides, along with the majority of their supporters, showed good sportsmanship. By all accounts, tonight's game was played in the true spirit of fair play. After all, this is Switzerland, a historically neutral country. Unfortunately, the co-hosts were eliminated tonight by Turkey.

Well done by both teams.

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