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Football juniors into final

Switzerland's Tranquillo Barnetta (R) clashes with an English player in Tuesday's semi-final in Copenhagen Keystone

Switzerland's under-17 football team have beaten England 3-0 to book a grand-final berth in the European Championships in Denmark.

The Swiss humiliation of the self-professed inventors of football has shocked fans, and fuelled the country’s hopes for the future.

Switzerland’s historic win is also the first time the country will play in the final of a European Championship.

Soccer supporters will no doubt hope the performance of the under-17s will inspire Switzerland’s senior team, which has not qualified for an international tournament since 1996.

Switzerland now faces France in Friday’s final after they beat Spain 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out.

Coach Markus Frei’s team should have a psychological advantage over the French, having beaten their Gallic neighbours 2:1 in the tournament’s group stage.

English chanceless

An efficient and disciplined Swiss team outclassed England from the outset.

Young Boys striker, Boban Maksimovic, found the net after just seven minutes. He struck again in the 58th minute, after England missed several scoring opportunities.

Teammate Marko Milosavac scored Switzerland’s third, sealing the game just before the fulltime whistle.

The Swiss defence, which has now played five games within ten days, have maintained their almost flawless record against the English.

Switzerland’s backs have only let through two goals in five games. Tuesday night was no different. The English attack was foiled at every opportunity.

Frei, who was a former trainer of first-division St Gallen, said his tactic was to befuddle the English with his two attackers.

“After the break the two swapped sides to confuse the opposition. If that’s why Maksimovic scored two goals, I don’t know.”

The U-17’s championship path has included victories against Georgia, Ukraine and Portugal.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR