Senderos ready to go all the way


Defender Philippe Senderos, a key element of the Swiss squad, says that Switzerland will have to attack each game at Euro 08 with a winner's mentality.

This content was published on March 20, 2008 - 17:10

Taking part in his second major international competition after the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Arsenal player adds that he wants to get the most out of an event being played in front of his home crowd.

swissinfo: What does Euro 08 mean to you?

Philippe Senderos: It is of course an amazing event and I know I will only get to play one European championship at home during my career. I am going to try to make the most of it and help make it last as long as possible for the Swiss team.

It is an incredible opportunity for the players to accomplish something big. Since the 1994 World Cup, the Swiss team has been rebuilding itself. We want to pursue this and Euro 08 is part of that process. Playing at home will put more pressure on us, but it should motivate us too.

swissinfo: Do you think you can do as well as at the World Cup?

P.S.: Taking part in the World Cup or the European championships is a fantastic experience for a football player. I hope to enjoy it a few more times. What we did in Germany I feel was rather brilliant.

To be eliminated after a penalty shoot-out and after nobody managed to score against you was quite a performance. You have to have some character to achieve that. You also have to accept defeat. The first few months after our loss against Ukraine were difficult. But Swiss football now has a positive image. I'm very proud of it and I hope that my own career has contributed to that.

Most of the Swiss team plays abroad. Because of the young Swiss players who have tried their luck in tough foreign competitions, Switzerland has nothing to fear from the major football nations. That is very positive.

swissinfo: During the first round of Euro 08, you will play the Czech Republic, Turkey and Portugal. What do think of these teams?

P.S.: The opening game [against the Czechs] will be important because it will define the rest of the competition for us. We can't afford to slip up. We will have to approach each match with the belief that we can win. I know saying that kind of thing isn't always appreciated in Switzerland, but if you don't believe, you can't go all the way.

I know the Czech captain Tomas Rosicky very well, since he is one of my teammates at Arsenal. We get on very well and we joked a bit about the Euro match. We know exactly what to expect from the Czechs, and if Jan Koller is one of their strikers, things could get quite heated.

Playing Turkey again after our previous encounters in the qualifications for the World Cup [Switzerland knocked out Turkey resulting in a physical and diplomatic spat] will have a symbolic value. You can expect a tough game and the Turks will be looking for revenge.

Finally, Portugal has some marvellous individual elements such as Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo, who both play in England and will have to be watched all the time. I know that in Switzerland the Portuguese community is big, so I can only hope our supporters got some tickets before them.

swissinfo: Playing for your country seems important for you. When you joined the team for the first time against France in 2005, what was your feeling?

P.S.: I have very fond memories of my first selection. I was really welcomed into the team and I know that my experience at Arsenal helped me for that game.

[Swiss manager] Köbi Kuhn trusted me for an important match and I'm not sure many trainers would have taken that risk. It was a dream to play for Switzerland, and since then my desire has done nothing but increase.

swissinfo-interview: Mathias Froidevaux in London

Philippe Senderos

Senderos was born in Geneva in 1985. After playing for Geneva's Servette club from 2001 to 2003, he moved to Arsenal, playing his first Premier League game in 2004.

The central defender was a member of the Swiss side that won the European under-17 championship in 2002.

He joined the national squad in 2005 for a first game against France. Since then, he has been selected 24 times and scored three goals.

He was part of the Swiss team that took part in the 2006 World Cup.

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Arsenal were founded in 1886 by workers from the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich.

The club has won the championship 13 times and won the FA Cup ten times. At the European level, Arsenal won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1994 and the Uefa Cup in 1970.

In 2006 the team came close to winning the Champions' League, losing to Barcelona in the final.

Frenchman Arsène Wenger has managed Arsenal for the past ten years.

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