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Kuhn vows party will go on despite painful exit for co-hosts

SoccerNews in European Championships 12 Jun 2008

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Deflated Switzerland boss Jakob Kuhn has vowed the Euro 2008 party will continue in his country despite the co-hosts' heartbreaking exit from the tournament.

A 2-1 defeat by Turkey, clinched by a stoppage time goal, sealed the fate of Kuhn's young side, who had been unlucky to lose their opening match, 1-0 to the Czech Republic, and were handicapped by the loss of their two main strikers, Alex Frei and Marco Streller to injury.

“I can't criticise anyone, and I don't think I have anything to reproach myself for either,” said the veteran coach who retires after the tournament.

“We had the chances to score a second goal against Turkey when we were leading and then when it was 1-1, notably when we got into a three-against-one position on a counter attack.

“But it was not to be. It is painful, I won't try to hide that. But as far as willingness to perform and commitment go, they were all there.”

The Swiss would have remained alive in group A if they had held on for a draw but Kuhn refused to apologise for ordering his side to push forward in search of a winner, thereby leaving themselves exposed to the counter attack that led to Turkey's decisive late strike.

With Portugal to come in the final match, Kuhn said the gamble had been justified. “My calculation was that the chances of going through with a draw were not high so I wanted to win the match. That cost us in the end but I stand by my decision. I have no regrets.”

Kuhn went on to reject a suggestion that his side's exit would cast a cloud over the rest of the tournament.

“The party will go on. Switzerland is a multicultural country and there are enough Germans, French, Portuguese, Italians and other nationalities here to ensure that it does.

“It will remain a wonderful party and the Swiss will not hold back and they deserve to celebrate. I am very disappointed but life goes on.”

Switzerland certainly have not had the best of luck with injuries and Kuhn admitted: “The loss of our two main strikers was hard for us to deal with. We simply do not have that many players who can really perform well on this high level.

“But there is no point in trying to find excuses. We prepared well for the tournament and the team worked very hard. I have to congratulate them on what they have achieved.”

Kuhn leaves the national squad in good shape with a solid core of players in their early 20s and the promising striker Eren Derdiyok not yet out of his teens.

The 19-year-old was able to put his finger on exactly why Switzerland had floundered on home soil.

“Turkey had two half chances and transformed them into two goals. It is obviously hard to take and there was total silence in the changing room afterwards but that is football, we have to learn from it.”

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