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Second goal against Togo was crucial for Swiss

Swiss players celebrate with their fans after victory over Togo Keystone

Switzerland breathed a huge sigh of relief when Tranquillo Barnetta scored the team's second goal against Togo in their second group game of the World Cup.

This content was published on June 20, 2006 - 08:41

The 88th minute strike in Dortmund means that the Swiss will now qualify unless they lose against South Korea on Friday and France beat Togo. A draw for Switzerland will see them through.

But if Barnetta hadn't scored a second Swiss goal, a draw against South Korea would not be enough if France beat Togo and ended up with a better goal difference or greater number of goals than Switzerland.

This fact was not lost on Swiss coach Köbi Kuhn who threw on two strikers in the dying minutes of the match.

"We knew that we would take a gamble if towards the end of the match we led 1-0. It was planned that we would accept the risk [of conceding a goal] by bringing on two attacking players," Kuhn said after the match.

If Switzerland had drawn say 1-1 against Togo, France could have afforded to draw on Friday if Switzerland lost. As it is, France now have to win on Friday to pip Switzerland – if Switzerland lose.

Win needed

Qualification from Group G could throw up a mathematical conundrum depending on the result of Switzerland's last match and France's game against Togo – both to be played at 9pm on Friday.

If Switzerland and South Korea draw and France win, then all three teams would end the group on five points. But only two teams from each group can go through to the last 16.

The first criterion of separating the teams is to look at goal difference, which is where Switzerland now have a crucial advantage over the Koreans: the Swiss goal difference is +2, the Korean is +1.

But Kuhn insisted that it would be a mistake to go to Hanover later this week with the sole intention of securing a draw.

"We know that with this 2-0 win things have changed for the match against Korea, but we will still try to win," he said.

Kuhn added that he and his team must improve after a lacklustre first-half performance on Monday, and admitted that they were lucky to escape conceding a penalty when Patrick Müller brought down Emmanuel Adebayor.

"I don't know why things went wrong in the first half, but it took us a while to get going and we made far too many mistakes," he said.

"I have had a chance to see the [the penalty appeal] on television replays and it was quite clearly a penalty."

Missed penalty

Switzerland also received the benefit of a lenient refereeing decision against France when Müller handled the ball inside his own penalty area.

Müller offered a less clear-cut version of the controversial event that happened in the 35th minute of the game with Switzerland leading 1-0.

"It was a 50-50 decision but I did not intentionally touch the player. In another game the decision could have gone the other way," he told swissinfo.

Defender Ludovic Magnin was relieved with the result, but admitted that Switzerland performed below par.

"We always seem to have problems against smaller sides, but it is a positive sign that we can win without playing at our best," he told swissinfo.

"Everything now hangs on the next crucial game, but we are now used to everything hinging on one match," he added, referring to Switzerland's play-off games against Turkey last November that saw them qualify for the World Cup.

swissinfo, Matthew Allen in Dortmund

In brief

Group G table on Monday June 19:
Switzerland – played twice, four points, two goals scored and none conceded;
South Korea – played twice, four points, three goals scored and two conceded;
France – played twice, two points, one goal scored, one conceded;
Togo – played twice, no points, one goal scored and four conceded.

Goal difference is calculated by subtracting the number of goals conceded from the number of goals scored.
Switzerland's goal difference is +2, South Korea +1, France 0, Togo –3.

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Key facts

Switzerland vs Togo match facts:
Result: Switzerland 2-0 Togo.
Goals: Alex Frei (16 minutes), Tranquillo Barnetta (88).
Shots: Switzerland 15, Togo 10.
Shots on goal: Switzerland 9, Togo 7.
Yellow cards: Johann Vogel (Switzerland), Moustapha Salifou, Emmanuel Adebayor, Alaixys Romao (Togo).
Ball possession: Switzerland 50%, Togo 50%.

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