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Pitiful Switzerland beaten by Luxembourg

Jeff Strasser scoring the first of Luxembourg's two goals against Switzerland Keystone

Switzerland have lost 2-1 to Luxembourg in their second qualifying match for the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa.

The stunning defeat by a country ranked 152 in the world and with 480,000 inhabitants follows a draw against Israel on Saturday. Switzerland are now fifth in their group of six.

The visitors scored first at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich when Jeff Strasser curled in a free kick in the 28th minute that Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio should have dealt with more convincingly.

Blaise Nkufo equalised in the 43rd minute with a solid header that saved Swiss face going into half-time, but things never got any better in the second half.

Switzerland showed no creativity, motivation or urgency and when Alphonse Leweck finished a slick manoeuvre in the 86th minute that left the Swiss defence looking like schoolboys, Luxembourg were looking at their second ever international victory.

“Football can be brutal,” said German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld after the match. “We thoroughly embarrassed ourselves today. We had real problems going forward. We needed to be more patient and attack more down the sides.”

Latvia next

Switzerland are in European qualifying Group 2 for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa along with Greece, Israel, Moldova, Latvia and Luxembourg. The nine group winners qualify directly and the best eight runners-up will play home-and-away play-off matches for the remaining four places.

In the other Group 2 games on Wednesday, Israel beat Moldova 2-1 and Greece beat Latvia 2-0.

The defeat to Luxembourg comes four days after the Swiss failed to hold onto a 2-0 lead in Tel Aviv.

The Swiss and Hitzfeld have a month to get their act together, playing Latvia on October 11 in Switzerland.

Hitzfeld pointed out after the match that there were still several matches to go and said he remained optimistic, but on this performance Swiss participation in South Africa looks highly unlikely.

swissinfo with agencies

After two games:
1. Greece – 6 points
2. Israel – 4
3. Latvia – 3
4. Luxembourg – 3
5. Switzerland – 1
6. Moldova – 0

Switzerland: Benaglio; Nef (73. Vonlanthen), Djourou, Grichting, Magnin; Inler; Barnetta, Yakin (65. Abdi), Stocker; Nkufo, Frei (65. Lustrinelli).

Luxembourg: Joubert; Kintziger, Hoffmann, Strasser, Mutsch; Lang (45. Leweck), Payal, Peters, Bettmer, Lombardelli (76. Gerson); Kitenge (66. Joachim).

Switzerland-Latvia 11.10.08
Greece-Switzerland 15.10.08
Moldova-Switzerland 28.03.09
Switzerland-Moldova 01.04.09
Switzerland-Greece 05.09.09
Latvia-Switzerland 09.09.09
Luxembourg-Switzerland 10.10.09
Switzerland-Israel 14.10.09

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR