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Switzerland step closer to Germany 2006

A nod of the head and it was 1-0

(Keystone)

Switzerland have won the first of two playoff matches against Turkey 2-0, taking a step closer to qualifying for football's World Cup next year in Germany.

In front of a sold-out home crowd in Bern, Philippe Senderos and Valon Behrami scored for the Swiss side. The second-leg match will be played next Wednesday in Istanbul.

The Swiss side had countless scoring opportunities in the opening 30 minutes, turning the Turkish defence inside out seemingly at will with quick, clever passing and determined runs.

Marco Streller missed two glorious opportunities in the early minutes, both times failing to get a shot on goal from close range.

Ludovic Magnin had a good effort from just outside the penalty area turned away by the Turkish keeper, Volkan Demirel, and a powerful solo attempt by young star, Tranquillo Barnetta, was deflected away at the last second by a Turkish defender.

The Turkish squad withstood the early pressure and countered with a couple of dangerous shots of their own, but were stymied by Swiss keeper, Pascal Zuberbühler.

But Arsenal player, Senderos, put the Swiss ahead in the 41st minute, heading the ball into the corner from an indirect free kick by Magnin.

Commanding position

The second half was more even but it was again the Swiss who had the better chances.

Alex Frei and Streller narrowly failed to put the match out of reach, until Behrami, shortly after replacing Streller, scored in the 86th minute on a cross from Frei.

The Swiss are now in a commanding position going into the second-leg match in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Road to Germany

Switzerland lost none of their ten Group 4 matches, winning four and drawing the other six games.

But they failed to qualify automatically for the tournament because they only managed a goalless draw in a match against Ireland in Dublin.

France claimed top spot and automatically qualified with an emphatic 4-0 home win over Cyprus.

In total, 32 teams from around the world will take part in the tournament.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The European playoffs for the finals of the World Cup in Germany next year include six teams: Spain, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway and Slovakia.
The draw is Turkey against Switzerland, Spain against Slovakia and Norway against the Czech Republic.
Switzerland won the first match of the playoff against Turkey, 2-0.
The second leg and decisive match will be played on Wednesday, November 16.

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