Turkey edge out Czechs in thriller
Turkey took second place in Group A with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Czech Republic and will face Group B winners Croatia in the quarter-finals. In the night's other game, Switzerland managed a 2-0 consolation victory over a second-string Portugal side.
Switzerland 2-0 Portugal
Goals: Hakan Yakin 70, 82 pen.
Despite the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco had both been given the night off, Portugal dominated the opening 45 minutes. However, the co-hosts came into the game more after the break as Luiz Felipe Scolari retired more of his key figures. Hakan Yakin finally made the breakthrough, converting a fine pass from Eren Derdiyok on 70 minutes, before slotting away a penalty to make it 2-0 eight minutes from time after Fernando Meira had brought down Tranquillo Barnetta in the box.
Turkey 3-2 Czech Republic
Goals: Arda Turan 75, Nihat Kahveci 87, 89 (Turkey); Jan Koller 34, Jaroslav Plasil 62 (Czech Republic)
The Czechs began the match by taking the game to Turkey and their constant pressure paid off in the 34th minute, when Jan Koller converted Zdenek Grygera's pin-point cross with a bullet header. Fatih Terim then brought on Sabri Sarioglu and reorganised his team, and Turkey began to get a foothold in the match. But just when it looked as if the equaliser was coming, Jaroslav Plasil slid home Libor Sionko's cross a little after the hour mark to make it 2-0.
It seemed to be game over, particularly when Jan Polak hit the post ten minutes later to almost make it 3-0. However, this seemed to galvanise the Turks, and four minutes later, Arda Turan was on hand to finish off a fine move to halve the deficit. Czech keeper Peter Cech then failed to claim a cross in the 87th minute and Turkish captain Nihat Kahveci was left with the simplest of tasks to steer Hamit Altintop's cross into the empty net to equalise.
Rocked back on their feet, Karel Bruckner's men then
conceded a third when Nihat curled one in from the edge of the area
off the underside of the bar. Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel was
sent off in injury time to add to the drama, but it was too late
for the Czechs, who only have themselves to blame as they pack
their bags and head for home.
Pick of the day
Turkey-Czech Republic: Petr Cech has long been considered one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, but on Sunday he definitely had a night to forget. He failed to cut out Hamit Altintop's cross for the first goal, while for the second, he fumbled the ball straight into the path of the same Turkish player, with his team-mates so used to his faultless play that they did not think it necessary to drop back and cover. With his confidence clearly dented, he was powerless to stop Nihat, who found himself in space after springing the Czech offside trap. All Cech could do at the end of the match was apologise to his team-mates...
Quote of the day
"This is a message to my fellow countrymen: go out into the streets and make the most of it, celebrate this victory. After we beat Switzerland, I said that people would remember this team in years to come and I still believe that now." Turkey coach Fatih Terim
The numbers game
6 - This is the sixth time that a country has come back from a two-goal deficit to win a EURO match. Prior to Turkey achieving this feat, the last team to manage it was their victims tonight. The Czech Republic found themselves 2-0 down to The Netherlands in 2004 before coming back to win 3-2.
1. Portugal, 6 points, +2, Qualified
2. Turkey, 6 pts, 0, Qualified
3. Czech Republic, 3 pts, -2
4. Switzerland, 3 pts, 0
Croatia are already through to the quarter-finals, but which of their three group rivals will join them there?
Germany's surprise 2-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia will certainly have affected morale in the camp, but the team have a two-point lead over their direct rivals for qualification as well as a better goal difference. Joachim Low's men most likely only need a draw against Austria in front of what will nevertheless be a partisan Vienna crowd to continue their quest for a fourth European title.
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will sit the match out after
his sending-off against Croatia, but top-scorer Lukas Podolski has
recovered from his ankle injury and will start.
Of the 34 matches between the two teams, Germany have come out on top 20 times compared with only eight wins for the Austrians, the most recent being a 4-1 victory on 29 October 1986 in the Ernst Happel Stadium where Monday night's match will be played. "We only beat Germany once or twice a century," said coach Josef Hickersberger, who was in the line-up almost 30 years ago to the day (on 21 June 1978) when Austria beat West Germany 3-2 at the 1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina™ in a match which has come to be known as the "miracle of Cordoba".
Poland, meanwhile, will be hoping for a similar miracle on Monday, as they need at least a two-goal win over the already-qualified Croats as well as a favourable result from the match in Vienna. With the Poles having only managed one point from their opening two games, their chances are looking slim.
Have your say
Can Turkey emulate the feat of rivals Greece in 2004?