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Press lament bitter but not surprising defeat

Swiss fans show their disappointment after the match Keystone

The national football team's 2-1 loss to Turkey in a Euro 2008 group match dominated the front pages of Swiss newspapers on Thursday.

Commentators expressed the collective disappointment of the nation at the defeat, which eliminates Switzerland from the tournament it is co-hosting with Austria.

The front page of the tabloid Blick said it all in three words: “Finished, Out, Over”. Blick concluded, “we are European champions at being unlucky”.

The main newspaper in Basel, where the match took place, filled its cover with a picture of the soaked pitch and a sole Swiss player squatting, head bowed, hand over his eyes. “The dream collapsed in the 92nd minute,” the headline in the Basler Zeitung said.

The Bund in Bern printed a similar picture, but this time of 19-year-old striker Eren Derdiyok, who impressed in the first half by setting up Switzerland’s only goal in the tournament so far. “They gave their all, but all was lost,” the Bund proclaimed.

The Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger remarked in its front-page commentary that after the 1-0 loss to the Czech Republic on Saturday and Wednesday’s bitter defeat at the hands of the Turkish squad “for the Swiss footballers the European championship ended after only 100 hours”.

“Now, one of the hosts is only a guest at his own party, prematurely, before the last match in the opening round,” the Tages-Anzeiger said. “The fact that Switzerland twice played with lots of heart is little consolation. Köbi Kuhn, who has been more successful than any other national team coach, deserved a different farewell.”

Barrier too high

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), saved its commentary for page two of a special Euro 2008 section. “The national team worked themselves to the bone. But as was the case against the Czechs, they had too little to show for their efforts – yes, little but at least something.”

The NZZ went on to say that the performance in the first two matches and the results expose the reality of the high level of play at the European championships: “The Swiss team can show an impressive amount of will and spirit but qualifying for the quarterfinals is a barrier too high.”

“Four days. That’s how long it took for Switzerland to be ejected from Euro 2008,” said Le Temps. Under a picture of a Swiss and Turkish player fighting for the ball in the pouring rain, the Geneva-based paper added: “Four days to end an adventure that took five years to prepare.”

The result is “painful”, Le Temps said, but “the statistics speak for themselves, so the failure should surprise no one. Before yesterday’s match, the Swiss had only managed two draws against five defeats in the three European championships between 1996 and 2004.”

Switzerland have to play one more match. On Sunday they meet Portugal, who have already qualified for the quarterfinals.

swissinfo, Dale Bechtel

Switzerland is co-hosting the Euro 2008 football tournament with Austria from June 7-29.

The 31 games will be played in four cities in Switzerland (Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich) and four cities in Austria (Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna). The final will be held in Vienna on June 29. Switzerland will play its three group matches in Basel.

The finals will be broadcast in 170 countries and are expected to be watched by about eight billion cumulative TV viewers.

The two main themes of rain and redemption featured heavily in the foreign press, although the Turkish paper Hürriyet kept its headline simple: “We have just started!”

According to the British tabloid The Sun, the Turks were “singing in the rain”, adding that the victory was “reward for [coach Fatih] Terim’s cavalier tactics after the break”.

“Misery has descended upon [Switzerland],” said The Guardian in London. “Local enthusiasm for this tournament may just drain away. [Switzerland] will awake to a numbing sense of anti-climax.”

The Daily Telegraph said: “For Turkey, last night also offered a certain redemption following the infamous ‘Battle of Istanbul’ when Switzerland ended their hopes of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.”

It added: “Hakan Yakin, the Swiss forward, led the line well, created space with intelligent runs forward and was the major threat throughout. He will, though, have sleepless nights about one first-half miss.”

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