Sweden and Turkey both
lost their opening game and need a win in
Eindhoven. Whoever loses, would almost certainly be out of the competition. Sweden were
unbeaten in qualifying and finished above England in Group 5, but that's all history now.
For the game against Turkey, Sweden
will be without their captain, Patrik Andersson, after two yellow cards earned him a
sending-off in the Belgium game. He misses the match through suspension.
The loss of Roland Nilsson, who's still seeing
stars after a nasty bang on the head, is another blow for the Swedish back line; something
Turkey's Hakan Sukur (on his way from Galatasary to Inter Milan) may well be pleased
about. Nilsson has the experience of 112 international caps to his credit.
Celtic's Henrik Larsson may not have returned
to full fitness, since he broke his leg seven months ago, although he has scored 70 times
in his two years with the Scottish club and may be worth a start. Larsson came on for the
second-half against Belgium, but the Swedes had too much to do once Mpenza scored straight
from the restart and later lost their captain.
While Sweden may have themselves to blame for
their defeat, on the opening day of the tournament, Turkey would like to blame their loss
of a point on the controversial penalty awarded to Inzaghi, by Hugh Dallas of Scotland.
Those who saw they game will know that Turkey's goalkeeper was extremely exposed and
numerous Italian attacks were cleared off the line. There could have been a lot more
4-Joakim Bjorklund, 5-Teddy Lucic, 6-Gary Sundgren, 14-Olof Mellberg
7-Hakan Mild, 9-Fredrik Ljungberg, 11-Niclas Alexandersson, 17-Johan Mjallby
19-Kennet Andersson, 20-Henrik Larsson
3-Ogun Temizkanoglu, 4-Fatih Akyel, 5-Fehmi Alpay Ozalan, 20-Hakan Unsal
7-Okan Buruk, 14-Suat Kaya, 15- Muzzy Izzet, 22-Umit Davala
6-Arif Erdem, 9-Hakan Sukur
Referee: Dick Jol
I'd have to be really creative to try and tell you what happened in this half. It's a lot
easier to say what didn't happen.
We didn't see a decent 45 minutes of football;
correction, we didn't even see a decent 5 minutes of football.
On this first-half showing neither Sweden nor
Turkey deserve to get three points and a chance to qualify for the quarter finals, if they
win their last game. Italy and Belgium shouldn't feel too worried if they're watching
this. In fact they've probably gone off to bed by now. I would too if I didn't think that
some Swedish and Turkish fans were reading and waiting for my every word.
For the sake of football, something had better
happen in the 2nd half.
The next 45 minutes didn't get any better.
Sweden 0 -- Turkey 0 (And Italy are group B winners).
Man of the Match:
The referee; for blowing the final whistle.