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Sports

Turkey Cut Short Swiss Hopes at Euro 2008

"We are out" and "Goodbye to Euro 2008" shouted the headlines in the Swiss newspapers after the host team's heartbreaking exit from Euro 2008 on Wednesday, June 11 after just four days into the tournament.

Disappointed Swiss fans

Swiss fans were crushed after their country's early exit

A last-minute goal by Turkey dashed co-host Switzerland's hopes of advancing to the quarter finals of the Euro 2008 as they faced a 2-1 defeat by Turkey.

"It was disappointing and we deserved a better result but at the end of the day it's goals that count. You have to score or you can't win," said Swiss Federal Sports Minster Samuel Schmid, who was one of the 40,000 supporters who cheered on their team at St. Jakob Stadium.

The game got off to a promising start, with Switzerland scoring a goal in the 32nd minute. But a a downpour during the first half filled the field with water, making play difficult. Yet a number of tactical errors and missed chances led to their ultimate disappointment.

Switzerland, which had lost its first game to the Czech Republic, suffered from the absence of their two main strikers, Alex Frei and Marco Streller, who were sidelined by injury. Fans talked of a team that was "tired."

Disappointing finish

Switzerland's Ludovic Magnin, right, and Turkey's Nihat Kahveci, left, vie for the ball

Turkey played tough

Captain Ludovic Magnin readily admitted afterwards mistakes were made. He said the team had still played well and fought hard but "we created some good chances but didn't score."

It was a disappointing end too to the career of Swiss coach Koebi Kuhn, who is set to retire.

"I can't criticize anyone, and I don't think I have anything to reproach myself for either," Kuhn said.

Turkey scored a goal just before the end of the game to break the tie.

"We had the chances to score a second goal against Turkey when we were leading and then when it was 1-1, notably when we got into a three-against-one position on a counter attack," the coach said. "But it was not to be. It is painful, I won't try to hide that. But as far as willingness to perform and commitment go, they were all there."

The party must go on

Swiss fans cheer

Will the Swiss fans lose interest?

Kuhn went on to reject a suggestion that his side's exit would cast a cloud over the rest of the tournament.

"The party will go on. Switzerland is a multicultural country and there are enough Germans, French, Portuguese, Italians and other nationalities here to ensure that it does," Kuhn said.

"It will remain a wonderful party and the Swiss will not hold back and they deserve to celebrate. I am very disappointed but life goes on," he said.

The victory was a measure of revenge for the Turks because the last time they met Switzerland, in a World Cup qualifying playoff in 2005 in Istanbul, the Swiss went through on the away goals rule and the match ended in a brawl.

"It's a wonderful feeling," said Turkey coach Fatih Terim. "The players need it for their confidence and I congratulate them on their incredible efforts."

"The three points give us a lot of hope for the last match (against Czech Republic on Sunday). We're still here and still playing. This is the beginning of the Euro for us."

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