Should Switzerland qualify for the WC2006?
It's a hard question. Speaking after the tunnel trouble at the end of the play-off in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, amid scenes of a melee just inside the tunnel entrance, I question the lead-up to the game. Turkey supporters chanted abuse at the Swiss team as they arrived in Istanbul, a banner held up read 'Welcome to Hell', and a 2-hour delay in the airport seemd to be aimed at unsettling the Swiss.
This can be seen as a reaction to The Turkish Football Federation complaints after the 1st leg in regard to the Swiss fans booing the Turkish anthem, security officials shouting at the Turkish players, and coach Fatih Terim denied access to the post-match conference. A Swiss security spokeswoman claimed Terim was asked to wait 2 minutes until coach Jacob Kuhn finished answering questions, and subsequently stormed off.
The TFF called on their supporters to show no reaction to the complaints and instead support the side to win the game and qualify. After what turned out to be a superb match with 6 goals, afterwards tempers and tensions flared. TV replays clearly showed Swiss midfielder Benjamin Huggel lash out with his right foot at a Turkey staff member, who didn't retaliate, and then immediately Turkey and former Aston Villa defender Alpay equally lashed out at Swiss forward Marco Streller, who didn't retaliate. Huggel then grabbed Alpay around the neck, both players falling to the ground amidst a crowd of people inside the entrance. Deplorable scenes. Swiss and Auxerre defender Stephane Grichting received an injury to his scrotum that resulted in internal bleeding and the necessity of a catheter, recovery expecting to take 10 days.
FIFA are to hold a meeting on the incidents this morning, which thankfully led to no crowd trouble and therefore no casualties or fatalities. Word from the Swiss camp stated Huggel was acting in self-defence, which seems very contradictory looking at the footage. It sounds draconian to suggest, but such scenes should follow explusion from any competition for any team involved in such a manner. A play-off between Norway and Slovakia should follow, the winner taking the place of the Swiss.
Switzerland coach Kuhn: "It is a scandal. I have never seen anything like it. No one has every seen anything like it."
FIFA President Joseph Blatter: "I can tell you this, not as a Swiss, but as the president of FIFA, that we will act here and we will act tough."
Well done to the Socceroos and the Trinidadians, who both secured their first entrance into the World Cup. Australia haven't featured for over 3 decades. The Czechs and Spaniards secured their places with well-earned performances from their respective 1st legs.