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Swiss scrape past Faroes

Switzerland's goalscorer, Alexander Frei, (left) celebrates the 1-0 victory over the Faroe Islands with teammate, Johann Vogel Keystone

The Swiss football team enjoyed a narrow 1-0 away win over the Faroe Islands in Saturday's World Cup Group One qualifying match to further boost their chances of reaching the 2002 finals.

The win was a slim victory for Switzerland in what was a closely fought match from beginning to end.

The Faroe Islanders played a defensive game with their four backs forming a united front against the Swiss attack.

“It was very difficult to play against the wall-of-concrete-like defence put up by the Faroe Islands,” said the Swiss player, Alexander Frei after the match, ” The Swiss strikers weren’t given much room to manoeuvre.”

The almost impenetrable defence of the Faroe Islanders meant that the Swiss front line struggled to break through and create goal opportunites.

The one and only goal of the match was scored in the 81st minute by the Servette striker, Frei, who took advantage of his team’s first real shot at goal by blasting one into the back of the net off a pass from Balise N’Kufo.

The second chance at goal came in injury time when Switzerland’s man-of-the-match, Raphael Wicky, struck the outside of the post narrowly missing making the final score 2-0.

“I’m 100 per cent happy with my team, even if it wasn’t a great game.” said the Swiss coach, Enzo Trossero, “our late goal was lucky but well deserved.”

There were disappointing performances however from Switzerland’s Ciriaco Sforza and Massimo Lombardo.

Sforza was replaced in midfield by Raphael Wicky in the 69th minute after failing to go after the ball during the match and contributing very little towards his team’s victory.

Lombardo, who played to the left of the field, showed little attack and left many opportunities open when the midfield were looking to pass to strikers.
The Swiss midfield ended up overworked and underused.

However, the 1-0 victory means that Switzerland have 11 points after six games leaving them in second place in the qualifying table.

Russia are in pole position with 14 points with Slovenia trailing Switzerland in third place with 10 points.

With only one point between Slovenia and Switzerland, there is everything to play for when the teams go head-to-head at home next week.

“I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t qualify for the World Cup,” said Trossero, ” but obviously a win against Slovenia on Wednesday in Basel is necessary.”

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR