Turks dampen hosts' celebrations
British weather plays its part in Basel
By Stephen Joyce. Last Updated: June 11, 2008 10:28pm
Turkey celebrate at the final whistle.
Much has been made of the fact that the Home Nations are not at Euro 2008. Well, the British weather certainly is!
Rain showers in several previous matches were swamped by an absolute torrent from the Basel skies as Turkey beat Switzerland 2-1 in a Group A clash.
Switzerland are prepared for avalanches but usually snow rather than rain, though they still coped better with the pools of water on the pitch than the short-passing Turks early on.
Surely, Tuncay Sanli must have seen some foul weather at Middlesbrough this season - Fabrizio Ravanelli and Emerson used to regularly compare Teesside winters with those of the Mediterranean.
Even Philippe Senderos managed an un-Arsenal like hoof forward to set up the Swiss opener, Eren Derdiyok beating a flimsy offside trap to steady himself and slide a square ball to the waiting Hakan Yakin five yards out.
The pass almost held up in the goalmouth swamp but the Swiss striker still had time to stroke it home.
At half-time, Turkish coach Fatih Terim gave in to the weather and put the big centre-forward on in the shape of Semih Senturk.
Minutes later, Nihat Kahveci swung a deep cross in and the big fellow bulleted a header past Diego Benaglio in goal.
Two of the unsung teams of the tournament were now providing a full-blooded encounter in the driving rain. Senderos marshalled the Swiss defence with the sort of dominance he doesn't always display at the Emirates while Tuncay certainly provided the sly probing that turned him into one of Gareth Southgate's better acquisitions at the Riverside Stadium.
But in the dying minutes, the result was turned by the game's outstanding performer Arda Turan.
He opened with a Ronaldo-style pirouette with his first touch, constantly ran at the home defence and, though he did fade in a hectic second half, he popped up with the winner.
Cutting in from the left onto his favoured right-foot, he rifled a powerful shot that took the slightest of deflections past a bemused Benaglio in goal.
The hosts are out having done very little wrong while the Turks march on presumably praying for better weather.