Fournier joins growing Swiss injury list

Fournier failed a late fitness test on Friday. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Swiss defender Sébastien Fournier has joined the long list of players who have been ruled out of Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Russia. At the end of Friday's training session, Fournier said he wasn't fit enough to play in the ma

This content was published on September 1, 2000 - 18:06

The Servette player told journalists he was suffering from thigh spasms. His withdrawal is the latest in a series of injury problems to hit the squad.

Coach Enzo Trossero is already without the services of the country's three most experienced strikers: Stéphane Chapuisat, Kubilay Turkyilmaz and David Sesa. First choice goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbühler also pulled out of the squad this week after failing to recover from a leg injury.

After training on Friday, Trossero named his planned line-up for the match, with Giuseppe Mazzarelli replacing Fournier in the Swiss back four. But there could still be at least one forced change to this already makeshift team. Midfielder Johann Vogel is said to be doubtful for the game after knocking his knee.

As expected, Trossero has chosen FC Zurich's Marco Pascolo to replace Zuberbühler in the Swiss goal. Lugano's Badile Lubamba is set to win his first cap in the defence alongside Henchoz, Müller and Mazzarelli.

If Vogel pulls through, the Swiss midfield should be unaffected by the latest upheavals, with Cantaluppi, Sforza and Comisetti all fit and healthy. Upfront, Trossero has opted for Alexandre Rey as the only out and out striker, with Hakan Yakin operating between Rey and the midfield.

The match against Russia will see the start of both teams' campaigns to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. Neither side has reached a major international final since the European Championships in 1996.

Despite all his injury problems, Trossero insists he is still confident of ending Switzerland's run of bad results against Russia and the former Soviet Union. "Certainly I'm a little anxious," he admitted on Friday. "But overall I'm calm and I still think I've got a good team under me."

As well as having the optimism of their coach as inspiration, the Swiss players on Friday reached agreement with the Football Association as to their financial incentive. Fournier, along with Henchoz, Vogel and Sforza, was at least able to represent his teammates when it came to discussing win bonuses.

The national side's administrative director, Ernst Lämmli, revealed that the players would each receive SFr 100,000 if the team qualifies for the World Cup finals. A win against Russia on Saturday, and in any subsequent qualifying games, will net the players SFr 12,000.

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