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Swiss downed by Canada

Canada's players had more to celebrate than their Swiss counterparts Keystone

The Swiss national football team has lost at home in St Gallen 1-3 against Canada, continuing to struggle against the minnows of soccer.

The Canadians caught Switzerland napping at the Espenmoos stadium. The locals went onto the field seemingly lacking energy and willpower, the two ingredients they needed to have a chance of overcoming their opponents.

Everton’s Tomasz Radzinski opened the Canadians account after 20 minutes, after Switzerland’s defence led by Liverpool’s Stéphane Henchoz failed to stop a long pass from Martin Nash. Werder Bremen’s Paul Stalteri doubled the scoreline another 18 minutes later with a shot from 20 metres out.

Radzinski slotted home his side’s third goal just 63 seconds into the second half. Swiss defender Sébastien Fournier – who seemed to be already on holidays – forgot about the Premier League striker lurking nearby while he was making a throw-in.

It was only when the Canadians had scored three times that the Swiss decided to stir from their slumber. A number of scoring opportunities were wasted before Blaise N’Kufo, who plays for Mainz in the German second division, managed to beat Canada’s goalkeeper in the 80th minute.

Bad timing?

This last friendly match of the season was not the ending that Swiss coach Köbi Kuhn had been hoping for, or for that matter, the small 4,000-strong crowd attending the game.

Switzerland has just one victory since the beginning of the year, a 2-1 win over Hungary in Cyprus. But the Swiss also lost to the Cypriots after a penalty shootout, and drew 1-1 against Sweden in Malmö.

Switzerland has struggled against worse-ranked sides this year, the 3-0 loss confirming this national side is lacking cohesion. Kuhn doesn’t believe though that his team is all that bad.

“We had a number of opportunities in the second half, which is positive,” he said. “The main thing was to bring the group together for a few days.”

Questions have been raised about the timing of the match too. The Swiss championship, like others elsewhere, has just ended and many players are on their last legs.

“If Switzerland wants to progress, we have to be 100 per cent ready to play,” said the defender Fournier. “If that’s not the case, we can lose against anybody.”

The Canadians weren’t complaining about their adversaries’ lack of enthusiasm. “You could see the Swiss weren’t interested in playing,” said Daniel Imhof, the Canadian midfielder who plays for St Gallen. “I was expecting more of a fight.”

Imhof wasn’t about to downplay his team’s result though. “It was still one of the best games played by Canada in the last few years, ever since I became an international.”

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