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Historic Türkyilmaz helps Swiss bounce back

Türkyilmaz scores his second goal of the match and the 34th of his career Keystone

Switzerland's national football team recorded a comfortable 3-0 away win in Luxembourg on Wednesday, in a match which served as a World Cup qualifier in name only.

The Swiss team’s hopes of reaching next year’s finals in Japan and South Korea were effectively ended by Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Yugoslavia. But if the minnows of Luxembourg thought they could capitalise on Switzerland’s miseries, it took just 12 minutes for Servette’s Alex Frei to prove them wrong.

The young striker’s opening goal seemed to offer some reassurance to Swiss coach Kübi Kuhn following the retirement of goalkeeper Marco Pascolo and the unexpected withdrawals of Stéphane Henchoz and veteran forward Stéphane Chapuisat after Saturday’s defeat.

But if Wednesday’s match was meant to be a case of “out with the old and in with the new”, Kubilay Türkyilmaz clearly hadn’t read the script.

Record books

Two second half goals from the 34-year-old Ticinese striker were enough to wrap up victory for the Swiss and ensure Türkyilmaz a place in the record books.

The goals were his 33rd and 34th for the national side, and took him past the previous all-time record of 32, which Türkyilmaz had previously had to share with Xam Abegglen.

Incredibly, Türkyilmaz has scored his massive tally in just 62 international matches.

“Of course I’m delighted to have broken the record,” Türkyilmaz said after the match, “but it’s more important that the team won.”

Perhaps more important than that though was the news that Türkyilmaz has no intention of hanging his boots up yet.

“I will carry on playing for Switzerland for as long as I can,” he grinned. Some good news at last then for Kuhn in what has been a difficult week for the Swiss coach.

Russia stay in front

Of the three teams in Switzerland’s group still in contention for the World Cup finals, Russia have now made sure of at least making the second place play-offs. The group leaders beat the Faroe Islands 3-0 on Wednesday to stretch their lead over Slovenia to three points.

Slovenia, who drew 1-1 in Yugoslavia, could still overtake Russia, if Switzerland do them a favour by winning in Moscow next month. Yugoslavia must now travel to Luxembourg and hope that Slovenia can slip up in their final game against the Faroes.

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