All parties concerned with Switzerland's Group A match against Turkey here tonight – except of course the media – are keen to concentrate on what lies ahead, rather than dwell on the last meeting between the teams, which ended in the infamous Istan-brawl. Police and security officials have said the game is in a higher risk category and more of them will be deployed.
After Switzerland had scraped through to the 2006 World Cup on away goals despite losing the second leg of the play-off 4-2, players and coaches were involved in fighting on the Sukru Saracoglu pitch. Fifa, the world governing body, subsequently banned Turkey's former Aston Villa centre-half Alpay Ozalan for six games, as well as Newcastle's Emre Belozoglu and the Swiss midfielder Benjamin Huggel for four matches and Turkey's Serkan Balci for two.
Turkey were also ordered to play their first three Euro 2008 qualifiers on neutral ground behind closed doors. They took seven points from them and later pipped Norway to a place at the finals by winning in Oslo. On Saturday, however, they were well beaten 2-0 by Portugal, and must win tonight and then almost certainly against the Czech Republic to reach the quarter-finals.
Of the players punished two years ago, none is likely to start. Emre, who is leaving Newcastle for Fenerbahce, injured a hamstring in training and is even doubtful for the final group match. Marco Streller, expected to lead the Swiss attack now that the team's captain Alex Frei is out of the tournament, was, however, one of the victims of the violence that night. To add to the rivalry, Turks are the second largest immigrant group in Switzerland behind Italians, and two of the home players, Hakan Yakin and the teenager, Eren Derdiyok, are of Turkish descent. Hakan is likely to start as Frei's replacement tonight, though Derdiyok is the only other natural striker in the squad.
Turkey's coach Fatih Terim, more concerned about injuries to Emre and two defenders, Servet Cetin and Gokhan Zan, declined to answer a question about the brawl and his opposite number, Köbi Kuhn, said: "This issue is nearly three years old. As in everyday life, football evolves very quickly and these things are over and dealt with."
Switzerland (probable, 4-4-2): Benaglio (Wolfsburg); Lichtsteiner (Lille), Mueller (Lyons), Senderos (Arsenal), Magnin (Stuttgart); Behrami (Lazio), Inler (Udinese), Fernandes (Manchester City), Barnetta (Bayer Leverkusen); Hakan Yakin (Young Boys), Streller (Basle).
Turkey (probable 4-2-3-1): Volkan (Fenerbahce); Hamit Altintop (Bayern Munich), Emre Gungor, Emre Asik, Hakan (all Galatasaray); Mehmet Aurelio (Fenerbahce), Mehmet Topal (Galatasaray); Kazim Kazim (Fenerbahce), Tuncay (Middlesbrough), Arda Turan (Galatasaray); Nihat (Villarreal).
Misses next match if booked: Switzerland: Barnetta, Magnin, Vonlanthen. Turkey: Kazim, Sarioglu, Zan.Reuse content