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Swiss back to full strength for World Cup qualifiers

Enzo Trossero takes the squad for a run at their training camp in St Gallen

(Keystone)

Switzerland's footballers will be hoping to bounce back from last month's narrow defeat at home to Russia as they prepare for the next two matches of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Two games in five days will be the challenge facing Enzo Trossero's men. On Saturday the side are at home to the minnows of the Faroe Islands. Wednesday brings an altogether harder task as the Swiss travel to Slovenia, whose national side were one of the surprise success stories of Euro 2000.

After losing 1-0 to Russia with a heavily depleted squad, Trossero will be able to field a full-strength team on Saturday. Second-choice goalkeeper Marco Pascolo is the only player to have been ruled out with an injury.

At the other end of the pitch, strikers David Sesa, Stéphane Chapuisat and Kubilay Türkyilmaz are all set to make welcome returns. All three were named by Trossero in his provisional line-up on Friday.

The decision to field three strikers is a clear indication that Trossero will settle for nothing less than a clear victory at the Hardturm stadium. The Swiss manager has opted for a three-man midfield, with Basel's Mario Cantaluppi the man dropped.

In defence Badile Lubamba keeps his place at right back, after outshining more experienced colleagues in his debut performance against Russia. Liverpool's Stéphane Henchoz is also retained.

On the right, though, Trossero appears to have favoured recent form over international experience, with Lyon's Patrick Müller and Bari's Giuseppe Mazzarelli left out in favour of two home-based players.

St Gallen's Marco Zwyssig impressed Trossero with an assured performance during the Swiss champion's 2-0 beating of English giants Chelsea in last month's UEFA Cup tie. Servette's Sébastien Fournier has also been in form of late, and is seen by Trossero as a natural complement to the attacking play of Lubamba.

After the disappointment of the Russian defeat, Swiss fans will be demanding an emphatic win against the Faroe Islands. With a population of just 42,000 the Danish territory is small even by Swiss standards.

Affiliated to football's governing body FIFA as recently as 1988, the Faroe Islands do not boast a rich footballing history, although the Islands' sensational 1-0 victory over Austria in a qualifying match for the 1992 European Championships could give Switzerland cause to shudder.

The Faroe Islands side will be entirely made up of amateur players, after FC Copenhagen striker Todi Jonsson was forced to pull out with a fever. Uni Arge, who scored during the Faroe Island's impressive opening draw with Slovenia, is likely to operate as a lone forward.

An emphatic win on Saturday could put Switzerland on top of the Group One table, since the political unrest in Yugoslavia has led to the postponement of the match between the group's current leaders, Yugoslavia and Russia.

Slovenia could also profit from the leaders' forced inaction. The Balkans side travel to Luxembourg on Saturday before returning home to welcome the Swiss.

swissinfo with agencies


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