• 05:43 PM ET  06.11
Three thoughts after Turkey’s 2-1 win over Switzerland in Basel, eliminating the Swiss from Euro 2008 and putting the Turks on three points in Group A, even with the Czechs and behind group leader Portugal (six points and guaranteed a spot in the second round):

The Turks have some massive cojones. Down 1-0 at halftime and on the verge of elimination, Fatih Terim’s team showed some serious resolve, bagging two second-half goals, including Arda Turan’s stoppage-time winner after yet another classic counter-attack in a tournament that’s becoming known for them. Turkey was clearly the superior team when the field wasn’t playing like a swamp--what's up with the drainage at St. Jakob-Park anyway?--and fortunately for the Turks the rains subsided with enough time in the second half to use their skill advantage. Have some sympathy for the winless co-hosts, and especially Swiss defender Patrick Müller, who had not one but two deflections on the play that led to the winning goal: one on the shot itself and another on the counter-attack pass seconds earlier between Semih Senturk and Tuncay Sanli.

Yet another defender hurt his team by not getting on with it and playing soccer. For the life of me, I have never understood the soccer custom of defenders raising their hands when they think an offensive infraction has taken place instead of just concentrating on the game. Case in point: Turkey’s equalizing goal, in which Swiss captain Ludovic Magnin (who should know better) raised his hand appealing for offside and turned to stare down the side-judge, only for Magnin’s man (Sehmi Senturk) to leave him in the dust and score on a wide-open header. Dumb, dumb, dumb. The fact was that the Turks were kept onside because Swiss midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta (who had a terrible game) was too late to step up on the opposite side of the field. It’s a game of inches, folks, and the Swiss were on the wrong side of it today. Magnin now joins Italy’s Christian Panucci and Greece’s Sotiris Kyrgiakos as defenders who’ve killed their own teams by not playing the game while the other team scored a goal.

Will the co-hosts lose all their games? Looks like it sure could happen. Switzerland (0-2) has only one game left (against Portugal), and Austria (0-1) has to face Poland and Germany. Having covered a few major tournaments, I can tell you there’s no atmosphere quite like one in which the host team goes deep (see France ’98, South Korea ’02, Portugal ’04). Doesn’t look like that’ll be happening this time around.

Through-balls: My Man of the Match: Turkish captain Nihat, who did great work throughout the game and especially with his assist on the equalizing goal ... When it’s raining as hard as it was in the first half and water is standing on the field, you almost have to play as if you’re playing beach soccer (i.e., almost entirely in the air). Talk about a weather change that helped the Swiss ... Swiss forward Hakan Yakin put his team up with a swamp-aided goal, but the sitter that he missed a few minutes later is one that will haunt him for a long time ... If I was Kuhn, I would have brought on Johan Vonlanthen earlier for Barnetta, who brought nothing to the table today ... Does Hakan Yakin really play for a Swiss club called Young Boys? And how would you like it if the team you rooted for was NSFW? (Then again, this is the country that gave us the team Grasshoppers) ... On a bloody day, the Brian McBride Bloody Pulp Award goes to Portugal’s Paulo Ferreira and Turkey’s Emre Asik and Hakan Balta, who had some serious gushers ... My fervent hope is that Young Boys someday meets Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys in the FIFA world club championship ... Why on earth is it being announced now that Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is taking the Chelsea job? For a guy who’s trying to minimize the distraction of Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential move to Real Madrid, adding a distraction of his own making seems like lunacy. (For that matter, what happened to Big Phil's fear of the British media?) ... Separated at Birth: Swiss coach Kobi Kuhn and the actor John Lithgow; Switzerland’s Ludovic Magnin and SI.com’s Pete McEntegart.

Who do you like in the final group-game showdown between the Czechs and Turks? I’m leaning toward the Czechs, but it’s shaping up to be a belter. Please post your comments below, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning ...


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