Swedes too good for Trossero's men

Switzerland's Johann Vogel tries to keep Ljungberg at arm's length Keystone

Switzerland's national football team were unable to get the better of Sweden in Wednesday's friendly encounter in Geneva, with two goals from Anders Svensson securing a fairly comfortable 2-0 win for the visitors.

This content was published on April 25, 2001 - 20:32

Despite having several key players missing through injury, Enzo Trossero's team coped well with the highly talented Swedes in the early stages of the match, and headed into the break with the scoreline deservedly goal-less.

In keeping with the friendly nature of the match, both coaches used half-time to change things around, making no less than four substitutions each at the start of the second half.

Swiss substitute goalkeeper Jörg Stiel would probably have rather been on the bench in the 62nd minute, though, when Svensson outwitted the St Gallen goalie, driving a smart pass from Fredrik Ljungberg into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

With 12 minutes remaining, Svensson got his second and this time there was little Stiel could do to stop him. The Swedish forward weaved his way past both Ramon Vega and Marc Zellweger in the Swiss defence before flicking the ball over the helpless keeper.

"I was happy with the first half," Trossero said after the match, "because we held our own convincingly. But after the break, the Swedes started to dictate the pace, and we faced bigger and bigger problems."

"It's clear," Trossero continued, "that we may need all of the players who were missing today for our qualifying matches against the Faroe Islands and Slovenia. There was no way we could make up for their absence here."

While the friendly defeat was not ideal preparation for Switzerland's next round of World Cup qualifying matches in June, there was some good news for Swiss fans on Wednesday with Russia beating Yugoslavia 1-0 away in Switzerland's qualifying group.

The victory stretched Russia's lead at the top of the group one table to five points, but also ensured that Switzerland held on to second place.

"I'm happy about Russia's win," Trossero said. "Of course it's now very difficult to take first place, but there's a lot of hope for second place."

If Switzerland can finish in second place, they could qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals via a playoff match with another runner-up. With half their matches played, the national side are one point ahead of third-placed Slovenia and three points ahead of Yugoslavia, who now have just one game in hand on Trossero's men.

swissinfo with agencies

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