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15 Jun 2008 07:30
Turkey and Czech Republic take centre stage on Sunday while eliminated Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland and already-qualified Group A winners Portugal meet in a match with little at stake except pride.
The tension and intensity at the Stade de Geneve as Turkey play the Czechs will be in stark contrast to the atmosphere in Basel where the home crowd will hope for a consolation victory after two successive defeats.
Turkey and the Czechs go into the match with identical records from two games, three points and a goal difference of minus one.
Under new competition rules, if the tie finishes level after 90 minutes the winner will be decided on a penalty shootout for the first time in a group stage match in either the World Cup or European Championship.
Opposing keepers Volkan Demirel and Petr Cech experienced mixed fortunes in shootouts last season.
Turkey’s Demirel saved three penalties as his Fenerbahce team beat Sevilla in the Champions League first knockout round.
Later in the same competition Cech was on the losing side for Chelsea in the final shootout against Manchester United in Moscow last month.
Czech coach Karel Brueckner has a full squad to choose from but counterpart Fatih Terim is without injured midfield duo Tumer Metin and captain Emre Belozoglu.
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari can afford the luxury of resting several players knowing his team are assured top spot while Switzerland will be playing under coach Koebi Kuhn for the last time before he retires.
On Saturday, Spain clinched a place in the last eight with a 2-1 Group D win over Sweden, secured in the second minute of stoppage time by David Villa’s fourth goal in two games.
Holders Greece were knocked out after losing 1-0 to Russia. - Reuters
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