Happy ending to Swiss Euro campaign (Lead)

June 16th, 2008 - 5:50 am ICT by IANS  

Basle (Switzerland), June 16 (DPA) Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland ended their Euro campaign on a happy note Sunday with a 2-0 victory against Portugal in a Group A game played in Basle. Portugal’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose side had already been assured of a place in the quarterfinals as group winners ahead of the game, changed his team in eight positions.

Amongst those rested were super striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco.

Swiss coach Koebi Kuhn, who was in charge of the Swiss team for the last time, gave a last cap to 37-year-old goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuehler, who announced before the tournament that he was retiring after the competition.

Although the Swiss went into the game playing only for pride, they seemed surprisingly nervous and made a number of mistakes early on, without being punished though.

The Portuguese were denied a penalty in the 15th minute when Manchester United’s Nani, who was one of the players drafted into the side for the game, was pulled down in the area by Stephan Lichtsteiner, but the referee waved play on.

Shortly afterwards Pepe had a good chance after a free-kick, but Zuberbuehler pushed the ball against the crossbar.

Midway through the first half Helder Postiga had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring after being set up in the area by Nani, but his shot was saved by the Swiss goalkeeper.

The Portuguese finally had the ball in the back of the net in the 36th minute, but the referee ruled Postiga’s effort offside.

In the second half the Swiss seemed much more eager to break the deadlock and were rewarded in the 71st minute when Hakan Yakin was set up by Eren Derdiyok and the experienced striker made no mistake from close range.

Seven minutes from the end the referee somewhat surprisingly pointed to the spot after Fernando Meira and Tranquilo Barnetta clashed in the area. Yakin made no mistake with the penalty.

Portugal won the group with six points from Turkey, who beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in a spectacular game in which they had their goalkeeper Volkan Demirel sent off and scored three times in the final 15 minutes. The Turks also ended on six points.

The Czechs finished third with three points, ahead of the Swiss who also had three points.

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