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Handball: Swiss seek to rebuild confidence

Coach Arno Ehret is not underestimating the Faroe Islands.

(Keystone / Walter Bieri)

The Swiss national handball team will be looking for confidence-building victories when they take on the minnows of the Faroe Islands in European Championship qualifying matches on Friday and Saturday.

The Swiss are still reeling from last Sunday's 26-16 defeat at the hands of Lithuania, which left them third in their qualifying group, behind the Baltic nation and leaders Romania.

In the Faroese capital, Thorshavn, the Swiss will be hoping for a more convincing performance than the last time the two sides met, 24 years ago, when they only managed a 21-20 win.

The Faroe Islands had to withdraw from international competition in 1988 for financial reasons. Their two matches since their return have been overwhelming defeats at the hands of Romania, the former world champions.

To help ease the pressure on the Faroes, Switzerland agreed to play both home and away games in Thorshavn.

Switzerland's German coach, Arno Ehret says he hopes his team can use the two games to find a better rhythm than they achieved in Kaunas against Lithuania, and has suggested that he will make changes to the team to achieve that.

One player who certainly will not be playing is Fabien Lemann, who is still recovering from being viciously beaten up by a taxi driver in Kaunas.

Later this month, Switzerland face their toughest challenges in the qualifying groups, when they take on the might of Romania.

by Roy Probert

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